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SEATTLE - Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Seattle Wednesday, visiting the social networking giant's local office.

Ari Steinberg, the head of Facebook's Seattle office, told Seattle techies via email that Zuckerberg and Facebook engineering vice president Mike Schroepfer will be in town for a Q&A with Seattle-area developers Wednesday night.

Free tickets to Zuckerberg s appearance sold out on the registration website in about 20 minutes, reports Xconomy.com. No word on whether there s a public portion to his talks, but Facebook Tech Talks in the past have been available on video.

Peter Boctor, who develops mobile apps for Zaarly, a Seattle-based marketplace startup, said he was one of the last ones to get a ticket. An estimated 200 people RSVP'd for the event.

Mark Zuckerberg is such a big name now that just being able to see him and having the potential to meet him is appealing, said Boctor.

But the Q&A may be more important for the questions Zuckerberg asks than the ones he answers. Industry analysts said the impromptu visit is likely a chance for the CEO to size up potential recruits to the Seattle engineering hub.

Facebook's one of a number of Silicon Valley companies setting up shop in Seattle, hoping to recruit entrepreneurs, as well as veterans from companies like Microsoft and Amazon.

We in Seattle here have a great tech scene, he said. I'd love to hear what their plans for the Seattle office are and especially if there's going to be more of a mobile presence.

Facebook routinely hosts talks at its downtown Seattle office as a way to engage the community and recruit talented engineers, reports Geekwire. The 7-year-old social networking powerhouse has more than 700 million members, and some estimate its value at $70 billion.

Facebook just named Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to its board, launching speculation that Facebook might move deeper into online video or boost its partnership with Microsoft, where Hastings also serves as a director, reports Geekwire.

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