Running the biggest social network in the world has got to be a dangerous job. Not only are thieves probably looking to steal your riches, but there’s also the threat of unstable irate users assaulting you. Obviously, in this case, personal security would be a priority.
Images courtesy: Reuters
Clearly, that’s a view Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shares. The company revealed in its SEC filing Friday this past week that it spent more than $7.3 million on personal security for Zuckerberg in 2017. That’s almost double the $4.8 million it spent to protect him from harm in 2016.
Facebook also said it spent over $1.5 million to operate his private jet, compared to $870,000 in 2016. That includes passenger fees, fuel, staff salaries, and catering. Of course, all of this increased spending isn’t just because Zuckerberg decided to do a little extra vacationing this year. It’s instead thanks to his cross-country tour last year, that had him hosting town halls in every US state he hasn’t visited before - 30 in all.
“Facebook”s board of directors believes that this investment in Mark's personal security is entirely justified,” a spokeswoman for the company said last week. “He is central to Facebook’s future success and as founder and CEO of the company has a high public profile.”
According to a 2012 report by MIT Technology Review, Facebook was at the time spending $860 million per user on data center equipment, staff, and operating costs, or about $1 per user. Now, Facebook reported earnings of $10.14 billion in the third quarter last year. At the time, the platform had about 2.1 billion monthly active users. So, if we assume the company was spending its entire revenue for the year on servers costs and digital security systems for its users, it would be spending about $4.7 per person.Think that's too little? That's not the half of it
Of course, there’s no way a company like Facebook is funneling all of its revenue into safeguarding its users. In addition, updating the platform's security isn't technically a huge part of the regular operating costs. That means Facebook is spending a fraction of that, probably closer to half a dollar per user, on making its platform safer, while spending $7.3 million on protecting its CEO.