In a clear sign of the times for social media, some newish, high-end office space in San Francisco's SoMa district that had been leased, pre-pandemic, by Meta when it was in a rapid growth phase, looks to be getting subleased by TikTok parent company ByteDance.

At least three floors of what was a 34-floor office lease in 181 Fremont by Instagram and Facebook parent company Meta are the subject of "ongoing discussions" for a sublease by ByteDance, according to the SF Chronicle.

We learned in January 2023 that Meta was looking to offload all 34 floors of the building that it had leased five years earlier, ostensibly to become the new headquarters of Instagram. We know that the space was at least partially occupied by Instagram workers between 2019 and 2020, but it was likely a fairly shortlived stay for many of them — once the buildout was complete and move-ins happened, the pandemic came along in March 2020 to make most office attendance verbotin, and later, highly optional.

We earlier understood, via the SF Business Times, that Instagram had 50 floors in 181 Fremont, but the Chronicle says it was 34 floors, or approximately 435,000 square feet. This represents the lower half of the building, and the entire office component of the tower, with the upper floors all being luxury residences.

As the Chronicle notes, "it was common [back in 2017] for big tech companies anticipating future growth to lease more space than they actually required," and it seems clear that Meta never really needed all that space. But at the time of the lease it was seen as Facebook's first acknowledgement that it needed a foothold in San Francisco if it was going to attract some top talent — who might be loath to live down on the Peninsula or suffer a two-hour roundtrip commute.

The 181 Fremont offices had capacity for 2,000 workers, and Meta also took out a lease on a 755,000-square-foot office space in the nearby Park Tower at 250 Howard Street — which it has continued to hold on to. That has capacity for several thousand more workers who don't want to commute to Menlo Park.

The entry of TikTok on the SF scene would also be a first for Chinese-owned ByteDance. The company had previously been looking at space in San Jose, and currently rents offices from WeWork at 600 California.

Even if TikTok ended up occupying four floors in 181 Fremont, it would still leave much of the building still unoccupied. There has been at least one other taker, which is Navan, a travel tech company previously known as TripActions. They subleased 36,000 square feet, or about three floors worth, from Meta as of last fall.

In related news, Donald Trump now no longer supports a ban on TikTok, because they compete with Facebook, and he really hates Facebook — and he apparently met with a TikTok investor recently.

Previously: Meta Looking to Offload All Of Its Office Space at 181 Fremont