As Facebook struggles with the backlash from issues ranging from privacy to disinformation, much of the vitriol has been aimed at the social media giant’s headman – CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Security threats against Zuckerberg seem to be a major concern for Facebook, as the firm has set aside a whopping $10 million each year for the Facebook boss’ executive-protection team, Business Insider reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
The $10 million budget not only bankrolls a 70-plus person security team, but is also reportedly used for a ‘panic chute’ and a bulletproof conference room, among other things.
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Security threats against Mark Zuckerberg are a major concern for Facebook, as the firm has set aside a whopping $10 million each year for the Facebook boss’ executive-protection team
The security team is led by former US Secret Service agent Jill Leavens Jones and also provides coverage for Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg and Zuckerberg are the only Facebook executives that receive 24/7 security protection.
Facebook has ramped up its security personnel for the two executives, especially as both receive numerous death threats per week.
While it remains an unconfirmed rumor, many Facebook employees claim Zuckerberg has access to a ‘panic chute’ located in the floor of a bulletproof conference room located next to his office desk.
The chute reportedly leads to the parking garage underneath Facebook’s Menlo Park, California headquarters and is designed to get the CEO out of dodge quickly in case of an emergency, according to Business Insider.
Facebook declined to confirm to Business Insider whether or not the panic chute exists.
The panic chute may not be the only protection built into the office itself.
Facebook reportedly prevents anyone from parking in the garage space below Mark Zuckerberg’s office for fear of car bombs. Pictured is the firm’s Menlo Park, California campus
No one is allowed to park their car in the garage space below Zuckerberg’s desk for fear of car bombs and other safety risks, Business Insider said.
And whether he’s inside the offices or not, Zuckerberg is tailed by an intimidating group of security guards.
Zuckerberg has armed security outside his gated homes in California’s Bay Area, all of his doctors are screened beforehand and he’s driven everywhere, according to Business Insider.
Guards help protect Zuckerberg and Sandberg from stalkers, of which they reportedly have many.
The pair also have ‘amusing’ security names, Business Insider said. The website chose not to publish the names for privacy reasons.
Stalkers are said to be referred to internally as BOLOs, or Be On the Look Outs, who are barred from entering Facebook’s headquarters.
Security guards also serve as a buffer between Zuckerberg and any angry employees.
Guards sit at the front of company-wide meetings and there are often plainclothes guards situated in the crowd, Business Insider reported.
They also guard him near his desk, which is designed in the same open plan as the other desks in the office.
‘If you’ve ever been close to his office, you’ll see there are big burly people sitting there staring at screens,’ a Quora post reads.
‘They pretend to be software engineers but everyone knows they are security guards.
‘Once I was there at 7 a.m., and tried to take a picture of his office (he was not inside) to send to my family, but immediately, 3 of the men came seemingly out of nowhere and asked me to delete the picture,’ the post continues.
Facebook’s board approved the $10 million security budget in July, Business Insider noted.
It comes as Zuckerberg and Sandberg have faced repeated calls from privacy advocates and experts to step down from their roles in the wake of various scandals in recent years.
FACEBOOK’S PRIVACY DISASTERS
December 2018: Facebook comes under fire after a bombshell report discovered the firm allowed over 150 companies, including Netflix, Spotify and Bing, to access unprecedented amounts of user data, such as private messages.
Some of these ‘partners’ had the ability to read, write, and delete Facebook users’ private messages and to see all participants on a thread.
It also allowed Microsoft’s search engine, known as Bing, to see the name of all Facebook users’ friends without their consent.
Amazon was allowed to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and Yahoo could view streams of friends’ posts.
As of last year, Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon could all obtain users’ email addresses through their friends.
September 2018: Facebook disclosed that it had been hit by its worst ever data breach, affecting 50 million users – including those of Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Attackers exploited the site’s ‘View As’ feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other users.
Facebook says it has found no evidence ‘so far’ that hackers broke into third-party apps after a data breach exposed 50 million users (stock image)
The unknown attackers took advantage of a feature in the code called ‘Access Tokens,’ to take over people’s accounts, potentially giving hackers access to private messages, photos and posts – although Facebook said there was no evidence that had been done.
The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems.
Facebook said it doesn’t yet know if information from the affected accounts has been misused or accessed, and is working with the FBI to conduct further investigations.
However, Mark Zuckerberg assured users that passwords and credit card information was not accessed.
As a result of the breach, the firm logged roughly 90 million people out of their accounts earlier today as a security measure.
March 2018: Facebook made headlines earlier this year after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.
The disclosure has prompted government inquiries into the company’s privacy practices across the world, and fueled a ‘#deleteFacebook’ movement among consumers.
Communications firm Cambridge Analytica had offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.
The company boasts it can ‘find your voters and move them to action’ through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.
‘Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,’ with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.
The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump
This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.
This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.
This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.
It has also suffered several previous issues.
In 2013, Facebook disclosed a software flaw that exposed 6 million users’ phone numbers and email addresses to unauthorized viewers for a year, while a technical glitch in 2008 revealed confidential birth-dates on 80 million Facebook users’ profiles.