Mark Zuckerberg’s security costs have doubled to more than $20 million amid Facebook backlash

Mark’s with his bodyguards.
Mark’s with his bodyguards.
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville
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Facebook—or its reputation, at least—had a bad 2018, filled with scandals and scrutiny. A lot of the backlash has been focused on CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which is why, the company says, it had to double the costs dedicated to his personal security.

Financial filings revealed yesterday (April 12) that Zuckerberg’s total compensation went from $9 million in 2017 to $22.6 million in 2018. He’s only taken a salary of $1 annually for the past three years, meaning most of this money has gone toward protecting him and his family. Part of that $22.6 million is an additional $10 million security package that Facebook’s board approved last July. About $2.6 million went to his use of a private jet.

“We believe that Mr. Zuckerberg’s role puts him in a unique position: 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 company said in the filing. “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.” 

Business Insider reported in March that the executive security team, which also protects COO Sheryl Sandberg (her security costs amounted to almost $3 million last year), includes more than 70 people. Armed guards stand outside Zuckerberg’s home, and in the event that the CEO wants to go to a bar, a team sweeps in beforehand.

And “during company all-hands meetings, members of Zuckerberg’s Praetorian Guard sit at the front of the room and are dotted throughout the crowd, just in case an employee tries to rush him,” Business Insider wrote. “They wear civilian clothes to blend in with nonsecurity employees.”

Zuckerberg has stalkers, and has had to get restraining orders against them in the past.