A new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Facebook spent more than $23 million last year on security for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s annual reviews of company security “identified specific threats to Mr. Zuckerberg,” according to a proxy statement filed Friday.
“He is synonymous with Facebook, and as a result, negative sentiment regarding our company is directly associated with, and often transferred to, Mr. Zuckerberg,” the proxy says of the Facebook CEO’s role.
The company’s annual review of security programs showed the costs of protecting Zuckerberg and his family rose in 2020 mainly due to COVID-19 travel protocols, increased security coverage during the 2020 US election season “and other periods with increased security risk,” as well as rising costs for security personnel.
The “all other compensation” section of the proxy statement shows Facebook spent $23 million for personal security at Zuckerberg’s residences and for travel for him and his family. The CEO also got an additional $10 million to put toward security personnel and other security costs. The cost of base security was up to $13.4 million last year, compared to $10.4 million the year prior.
“The compensation, nominating & governance committee believes that these costs are appropriate and necessary in light of the threat landscape and the fact that Mr. Zuckerberg has requested to receive only $1 in annual salary and does not receive any bonus payments, equity awards, or other incentive compensation,” according to the proxy statement.
Also in the proxy filed Friday, Facebook said it will put forward a proposal at its May 26th shareholder meeting to offer personal security to non-employee directors from time to time, which it says is necessary due to “ongoing scrutiny faced by our directors as a result of their service on our board of directors.”
Facebook approved personal security services for some of the non-employee directors in January and February “in light of the high level of scrutiny faced by our company and our executive officers and directors, as well as the dynamic and charged atmosphere following the 2020 U.S. elections and the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021,” according to the proxy statement.
A January report by the Tech Transparency Project found that some extremists rioters at the Capitol attack had used private groups on Facebook for months to plan and coordinate the January 6th insurgency, despite remarks by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that the “events were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our ability to stop hate, don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency.”