BY CHARLES ABUEDE
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and chief executive officer of Meta, its parent company, and his family cost the company $73,400 daily on security, translating to $26.8 million a year, recent data collated and accessed by Business a.m. show.
The amount represents what Meta paid in 2021 for Zuckerberg and family security according to Meta’s filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) drawn by data generating StockApps.
Meta’s SEC filing shows that the company spent $15.2 million on Zuckerberg’s security apart from another $10 million before tax allowance expended on his family’s security.
The data also revealed that Meta spent another $1.6 million on his air travels, a figure that was a drop from $1.8 million and $2.9 million incurred over the same item in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
Zuckerberg’s 2021 security budget has been increasing in the past decade. Before that, the company had spent $23 million for the same purpose. The CEO’s security allocation jumped steeply following 2018’s Cambridge Analytica debacle.
StockApps’ Edith Reads, commenting on the data, said, “Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most well-known and highly scrutinised individuals in the world. Masses are watching and analysing his every move. So it isn’t a surprise that he has some of the most intense security measures in place.”
Reads, a fintech and trading expert at StockApps, further said: “That’s a hefty sum, but it’s necessary in light of recent events. The high cost of security is a reflection of the current climate and the risks associated with being a public figure. It’s important to remember that this is not just about Zuckerberg; all public figures need to take measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
Meanwhile, Meta linked its increased expenditure on Zuckerberg’s security to the strong negative sentiment he may draw to himself with the company stating that the CEO often shoulders the strong disapproval that his firm attracts sometimes.
In the recent past, Facebook has courted controversy emanating from how it operates while the American microblogging site has battled accusations that it focuses on profit rather than content moderation, aside from the Cambridge Analytica fiasco of a few years ago.
Those accusations came to the fore following an expose by whistleblower Frances Haugen, which have made it, and the CEO, targets of aggression.
Other disclosures by industry sources show that aside from the Zuckerberg and family, Meta also caters for the security of its top brass, such as Sheryl Sandberg, its chief operating officer, who has a security allocation of nearly $9 million. In addition, she draws from a $2.3 million pool for private air travel.
Other data sources pulled show that the two Facebook senior figures’ security budgets dwarf those of other prominent industry heads. For instance, Google’s Sundar Pichai’s security kitty isn’t even half of Sandberg’s allocation. It pales further in comparison compared to Zuckerberg’s.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg’s security spending is about 14 times that of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The latter’s firm holds a market cap of $1.55 trillion, that’s twice Facebook’s $602 billion. Yet Amazon’s expenditure on Bezos’ protection is only $1.6 million a year.
Also, Berkshire’s Warren Buffet and Twitter’s Parag Agrawal have far lesser allocations. The former’s security provision comes to $273,000 while the latter is just $64,000 annually.