Facebook spent $24MILLION on security for Mark Zuckerberg and his family last year to protect him from ‘specific threats’ with rising costs blamed on US elections and Covid pandemic
- The Facebook’s founder and CEO’s security costs also cover private air travel
- They have increased by around £3 million from last year, financial report shows
- Report says rising costs due to pandemic, US election and cost of bodyguards
- Zuckerberg was paid just $1 in 2020, the same as in previous years
Facebook spent $24 million in 2020 keeping its billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his family secure at home and when travelling. Pictured: Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan
Facebook spent $24 million on keeping its billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg secure at home and when travelling in 2020, according to a financial filing from the tech giant.
The huge cost comes due to ‘identified specific threats’ faced by the company’s co-founder, necessary due to his ‘unique position’ as ‘one of the most recognised executives in the world,’ according to the proxy statement filed on Friday.
Facebook spent $3 million more on protecting Mr Zuckerberg than in 2019, with the increase in costs blamed on the pandemic, the 2020 US elections, and the rising cost of personal bodyguards.
The filing shows that in 2020, the company spent more than $13.4 million on personal security for its 36-year-old CEO ‘at his residences and during personal travel pursuant to Mr. Zuckerberg’s overall security program.’
He also received a pre-tax allowance from the tech giant of $10 million for his family’s private security, taking the total security spend to $23.4 million. Zuckerberg is married to Priscilla Chan, whom he met at university. They share two children.
An additional $1.8 million went towards costs associated with his use of private jets, which is also included in the security expenses of the filing.
For reasons behind the cost, the company said Mr Zuckerberg ‘is synonymous with Facebook and, as a result, negative sentiment regarding our company is directly associated with, and often transferred to, Mr. Zuckerberg.
‘Mr. Zuckerberg is one of the most-recognized executives in the world, in large part as a result of the size of our user base and our continued exposure to global media, legislative, and regulatory attention,’ it added.
The $3 million increase in security spend from 2019 to 2020 was ‘primarily due to regular personal travel, costs relating to security protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, increased security coverage during the 2020 US elections and other periods with increased security risk, and market increases in the costs of security personnel,’ Facebook said in the statement.
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, flanked by police and security, leaves after testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on ‘An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors’ in Washington, DC in 2019
In total, Facebook’s founder received $25,288,264 in compensation from Facebook in 2020.
Mr Zuckerberg is currently the world’s fifth richest person, worth $97 billion according to Forbes’ 2021 World Billionaire List, and according to Bloomberg Billionaire’s list is worth a staggering $118 billion.
The statement said Mr Zuckerberg accepted a $1 salary from Facebook, as he has done in previous years, and did not receive any bonus payments or incentive compensation from the company.
It noted that the full amount given to Facebook’s CEO each year for security is expected to be spent, but that any portion left unused would cover excess security costs in future years.
The security team is led by former US Secret Service agent Jill Leavens Jones and also provides coverage for Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg was paid $918,077 in 2020, and received $8,518,973 to cover her security costs, which also included her personal use of private aircraft.
Sandberg and Zuckerberg are the only Facebook executives that receive 24/7 security protection.
Pictured: A view of Mark Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto home in California. Facebook spent $3 million more on protecting Mr Zuckerberg than in 2019, with the increase in costs blamed on the pandemic, the 2020 US elections, and the rising cost of personal bodyguards
In 2019, Zuckerberg’s $10 million budget not only bankrolled a 70-plus person security team, but was also reportedly used for a ‘panic chute’ and a bulletproof conference room, among other things.
While it remains an unconfirmed rumor, many Facebook employees claim Zuckerberg has access to a ‘panic chute’ located in the floor of a bulletproof conference room located next to his office desk.
The chute reportedly leads to the parking garage underneath Facebook’s Menlo Park, California headquarters and is designed to get the CEO quickly out of the building in case of an emergency, according to Business Insider.
Facebook, along with Zuckerberg and Sandberg, have been repeatedly criticised over issues relating to the company’s handling of its users’ data and their privacy.
Zuckerberg and Sandberg have both faced repeated calls from privacy advocates and experts to step down from their roles in the wake of various scandals in recent years.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was paid $918,077 in 2020, and received $8,518,973 to cover her security costs, which also included her personal use of private aircraft
Last week, it was reported that a new online tool contains the phone numbers of thousands of Facebook users.
VICE’s Motherboard found that the tool lets customers pay to uncover the numbers of users who have liked specific pages on the social media platform.
The data is completely separate from the 533 million Facebook users’ personal details, including addresses and phone numbers, that were posted to a hacking forum on Saturday.
Facebook said has no intention to notify the more than 530 million users whose details were hacked and posted online, the social media giant said last week.
Facebook said in a blog post on April 6 that ‘malicious actors’ had obtained the data prior to September 2019 by ‘scraping’ profiles using a vulnerability in the platform’s tool for syncing contacts.
Among the victims were Zuckerberg, whose cell phone number was among the leaked personal data posted online by hackers.
A Facebook spokesman told Reuters the social media company was not confident it knew which users had been hacked and would need to be notified.
Pictured: , Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 25, 2021. Zuckerberg and Sandberg have both faced repeated calls from privacy advocates and experts to step down from their roles in the wake of various security scandals in recent years
Business Insider reported last year that no one is allowed to park their car in the garage space below Zuckerberg’s desk for fear of car bombs and other safety risks.
And whether he’s inside the offices or not, Zuckerberg is tailed by an intimidating group of security guards, the website reported.
Zuckerberg has armed security outside his gated homes in California’s Bay Area, all of his doctors are screened beforehand and he’s driven everywhere, according to Business Insider.
Guards help protect Zuckerberg and Sandberg from stalkers, of which they reportedly have many.
The pair also have ‘amusing’ security names, Business Insider said. The website chose not to publish the names for privacy reasons.
Stalkers are said to be referred to internally as BOLOs, or Be On the Look Outs, who are barred from entering Facebook’s headquarters.
Security guards also serve as a buffer between Zuckerberg and any angry employees.
Guards sit at the front of company-wide meetings and there are often plainclothes guards situated in the crowd, Business Insider reported.
They also guard him near his desk, which is designed in the same open plan as the other desks in the office.
‘If you’ve ever been close to his office, you’ll see there are big burly people sitting there staring at screens,’ a Quora post from last year reads. ‘They pretend to be software engineers but everyone knows they are security guards.
‘Once I was there at 7 a.m., and tried to take a picture of his office (he was not inside) to send to my family, but immediately, 3 of the men came seemingly out of nowhere and asked me to delete the picture,’ the post continued.
FACEBOOK’S PRIVACY DISASTERS
April 2020: Facebook hackers leaked phone numbers and personal data from 553 million users online.
July 2019: Facebook data scandal: Social network is fined $5billion over ‘inappropriate’ sharing of users’ personal information
March 2019: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to rebuild based on six ‘privacy-focused’ principles:
- Private interactions
- Reducing permanence
- Secure data storage
Zuckerberg promised end-to-end encryption for all of its messaging services, which will be combined in a way that allows users to communicate across WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger.
December 2018: Facebook comes under fire after a bombshell report discovered the firm allowed over 150 companies, including Netflix, Spotify and Bing, to access unprecedented amounts of user data, such as private messages.
Some of these ‘partners’ had the ability to read, write, and delete Facebook users’ private messages and to see all participants on a thread.
It also allowed Microsoft’s search engine, known as Bing, to see the name of all Facebook users’ friends without their consent.
Amazon was allowed to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and Yahoo could view streams of friends’ posts.
September 2018: Facebook disclosed that it had been hit by its worst ever data breach, affecting 50 million users – including those of Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Attackers exploited the site’s ‘View As’ feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other users.
Facebook (file image) made headlines in March 2018 after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy
The unknown attackers took advantage of a feature in the code called ‘Access Tokens,’ to take over people’s accounts, potentially giving hackers access to private messages, photos and posts – although Facebook said there was no evidence that had been done.
The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems.
Zuckerberg assured users that passwords and credit card information was not accessed.
As a result of the breach, the firm logged roughly 90 million people out of their accounts as a security measure.
March 2018: Facebook made headlines after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.
The disclosure has prompted government inquiries into the company’s privacy practices across the world, and fueled a ‘#deleteFacebook’ movement among consumers.
Communications firm Cambridge Analytica had offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.
The company boasts it can ‘find your voters and move them to action’ through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.
‘Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,’ with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claimed on its website.
The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump
This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.
This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.
This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.
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