When your company is under immense media, legislative and regulatory pressure, it might cost a little more to keep top leaders safe. That was the case for Meta, which spent almost $27 million on security last year for Mark Zuckerberg and his family — far more than security costs for other tech leaders, according to a recent regulatory filing first reported by Bloomberg.
Meta overall paid out $26.8 million in 2021 on costs related to Zuckerberg, including the security bill to protect Zuckerberg and his family and homes, an additional $10 million pretax for Zuckerberg's personal security allowance and $1.6 million for his private aircraft. The bill represents a 6% increase from 2020, when the company set aside $23.4 million. Zuckerberg doesn't receive a bonus or equity awards, and takes a $1 annual salary.
Meta wrote in the filing that Zuckerberg is "synonymous" with the company, so any negative sentiment regarding the company goes back to him — the perks of being a CEO. The company added that Zuckerberg is one of the "most recognized" executives in the world, partly because of Meta's expansive user base and partly because of its "continued exposure to global media, legislative and regulatory attention."
The company has been in the spotlight over the past several months following Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's disclosure of a trove of internal documents that exposed Meta's role in everything from teen mental health issues to climate change misinformation. Haugen said Meta let these issues slide in the name of user growth, and she's called for Zuckerberg's resignation and appeared before Congress to demand the company do better.
But even before Haugen came into the picture, the company was paying far more than other tech giants for executive safety measures. That trend has only continued into 2021. Not including the cost of private aircraft, Google footed a $4.3 million bill for Sundar Pichai; Snap paid $2.3 million for Evan Spiegel; Amazon paid $1.6 million for Jeff Bezos; and Twitter spent almost $64,000 for Parag Agrawal, according to regulatory filings. Meta paid more than all of those companies combined for Zuckerberg alone (it also pays security costs for Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg).
Beginning next year, Meta will also pay for a private aircraft owned by Zuckerberg. "For travel by Mr. Zuckerberg on the aircraft owned by Mr. Zuckerberg, we pay an amount commensurate with market rates," the company wrote.