A different kind of Facebook tag: Graffiti on campus tunnel walls

Walls on Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., campus are decorated by graffiti artist David Choe.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO -- This time it’s Facebook that has been tagged.

The giant social network’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters is a blank slate for artistic expression. Anyone who works at the company can pick up a can and spray-paint on the walls or floors.

And it’s not just for amateurs. Graffiti artist David Choe and others have been invited to adorn the walls with murals alongside staffers’ efforts.

But not everyone who has tagged Facebook got permission first.

An underground tunnel that will serve as the passageway that connects the company’s current campus to another campus it plans to build across a busy divided highway is covered in colorful graffiti from an unknown local artist (or artists).


The new campus designed by architect Frank Gehry is on a 22-acre site on the other side of Bayfront Expressway. The 430,000-plus-square-foot building will stretch a third of a mile long on a single floor with a parking garage underneath and a roof park on top.

Rather than airbrush the graffiti in the underground tunnel where pedestrians, cyclists and possibly a shuttle will ferry staffers back and forth, Facebook says it plans to keep it -- minus any profanity, naturally.

Graffiti on Facebook walls traces back to 2005 when then Facebook president Sean Parker hired Choe to paint murals in the company’s Palo Alto offices. (In what turned out to be a fortuitous move, Choe accepted payment in Facebook stock.)

Choe again painted murals for Facebook’s next digs in 2007 at the request of Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. By the time Facebook outgrew those offices, the murals were such a colorful part of Facebook culture that the company removed the mural-covered concrete walls and took them along.

After Facebook moved into its splashy new headquarters in Menlo Park, Choe returned to tag the walls with a variety of designs, some his own inspiration, others suggested by Facebook staffers, this time for free. Choe’s Facebook graffiti art was re-created for the set of the film “The Social Network” by two of his friends, Rob Sato and Joe To.



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