Facebook parent Meta spent a fortune on efforts to keep its top boss Mark Zuckerberg and his family safe in 2021 – with security expenses that dwarfed those of other top executives in the tech sector.
Meta earmarked nearly $27 million for what it described as an “overall security program” for Zuckerberg, the company disclosed in an SEC filing. The total included nearly $15.2 million on “personal security for Mr. Zuckerberg at his residences” as well as during his personal travel.
An additional $10 million came in the form of an “annual pre-tax allowance” meant for other security-related costs for Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan and their children. The remaining funds covered Zuckerberg’s private air travel.
In the filing, Meta said the security expenses were necessary because Zuckerberg faces specific threats “as a result of the high-profile nature of being our founder, CEO, Chairman, and controlling shareholder.”
“We believe that Mr. Zuckerberg’s role puts him in a unique position: he is synonymous with Meta and, as a result, negative sentiment regarding our company is directly associated with, and often transferred to, Mr. Zuckerberg,” the filing said.
“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 security costs comprised the bulk of compensation for Zuckerberg, who takes a base salary of just $1 and doesn’t receive any stock-based awards. Zuckerberg has an estimated fortune of nearly $78 billion, according to Forbes.
Meta’s security spending was even higher than the previous year, when the company spent roughly $23.4 million on his protection.
While companies regularly spend significant sums on security and travel expenses for top bosses, Zuckerberg’s protection spending is more extensive than most.
For example, Amazon spent about $1.6 million on security and business travel for its founder and chairman Jeff Bezos last year. Apple spent $630,630 toward security for its CEO Tim Cook, as well as another $712,488 on his personal travel expenses.
Meta has faced intense criticism in recent years over its business practices. The most recent backlash stemmed from the Congressional testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former employee who accused the company of prioritizing profits over the well-being of its users.
Earlier this year, Meta’s share price cratered after the company reported the first decline of its active user base in its history.
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