Facebook has revealed that they spent $20 million on CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s security in 2018, which attributed to the sharp increase of his pre-tax allowance.
According to the proxy filing, although the 34-year-old billionaire had a $1-salary and did not receive any bonuses or stock awards last year, the pre-tax compensation from the company more than doubled in 2018 in comparison to the previous year. It increased from $9.1 million in 2017 to $22.6 million, which is even 4 times more than it spent on his security in 2016.
While his standard personal security at home and during travels cost Facebook $10 million in 2018, another $10 million was allocated “to cover additional costs related to Mr Zuckerberg and his family’s personal security", including guards, equipment and residential improvements. Besides, some $2.6 million were “for costs related to personal usage of private aircraft", which also counted as part of his security programme.
The document explained that Zuckerberg is “synonymous with Facebook", so negative sentiment is said to be “often transferred” to him.
"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", the filing reads.
However, Zuckerberg is not the only one, for whose security Facebook pays millions. Last year, it also paid $1.1 million more for the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg's safety.
Security spending was boosted amid unrelenting negative attention to Facebook. This includes accusations of spreading “fake news” as well as censoring alternative media, lying to advertisers, or allegations of an "intolerant" internal company culture.
On top of that, the tech giant was accused of abetting the misappropriation of user data when it turned out that companies like Cambridge Analytica could easily gather vast amounts of information about Facebook users and later use it in various campaigns, including political ones.