October 24, 2020

Facebook donated $1.3 million to the UKs World War II code-breaking hub, Bletchley Park

  • Facebook is donating £1 million ($1.3 million) to Bletchley Park, the UK’s World War II code-breaking HQ.
  • Bletchley Park is now a historical site, and has seen a dip in visitor numbers due to the pandemic.
  • “Facebook simply would not exist today if not for Bletchley Park,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook on Tuesday made a public donation of £1 million ($1.3 million) to Bletchley Park, the UK historical site which Facebook describes as the “birthplace of the computer.”

Bletchley Park, a stately home in southern England, was the UK’s codebreaking hub during World War II. It was where the first Enigma-encrypted Nazi messages were broken in 1940, and where famous British computer scientist Alan Turing did much of his work.

The site is now a historical tourist spot, and has seen a significant drop in visitor numbers since the pandemic began.

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post that Facebook’s donation was prompted by Bletchley Park’s formative role in early, foundational computer science.

“Facebook simply would not exist today if not for Bletchley Park,” Schroepfer wrote.

“By figuring out how to crack the Nazis’ secret communications, the almost 10,000 people who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II — 75% of them women — changed the course of the war and saved millions of lives.

“They did it by building the world’s first programmable digital computer and laying the foundations of modern computer science. Ideas developed at Bletchley Park remain at the heart of cutting-edge research in fields like artificial intelligence, online security and cryptography today, more than 80 years after the first codebreakers set up shop there.”

The CEO of Bletchley Park, Iain Standen, said in a statement that he was “very grateful to Facebook for their generous donation,” and that the money would help it “keep its doors open for future generations.”