Keeping Mark Zuckerberg Safe Cost Facebook $22 Million Last Year

Facebook’s stunning year of scandals seems to have driven up the price tag of Mark Zuckerberg’s safety.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Friday, the CEO was paid $10 million in 2018 through a pre-tax allowance “to cover additional costs related to his and his family’s personal security.”

That includes “personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements” and other costs, the filing stated.

In addition, nearly $2.6 million went toward Zuckerberg’s private aircraft use, which the company considers as part of his security.

Increased protections for the executive pushed his total security compensation from $9.1 million in 2017 to almost $22.6 million in 2018.

Though Zuckerberg famously receives a salary of just $1, despite being worth more than $62 billion per Forbes’ billionaires list, the reason for the jump in his pay appears to have been a backlash against him.

“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 filing said. “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.”

COO Sheryl Sandberg, who earned a base salary of $850,000 last year, also received additional funding for security, albeit a far more modest amount of $1.1 million.

2018 marked a rough year for the social media platform as it became embroiled in controversy over its admission that up to 87 million of its users may have had their account information improperly shared with data firm Cambridge Analytica, which may have used it to influence voters in the 2016 election.

As a result of the scandal, Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress in a contentious hearing concerning Facebook’s handling of user privacy.

But that wasn’t all. Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee also took aim at Facebook when they sounded the alarm on thousands of Russian-financed ads on the platform that ran from 2015 to 2017. Some of the ads were posted during the election.

Facebook has also faced scrutiny for allowing notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to use the site, finally banning his content last summer after he continued to spread false and hateful posts. However, the move triggered outrage from conservatives, who argued Jones was unfairly silenced.

Zuckerberg’s troubles aren’t over yet, as critical questions remain in 2019 about how to improve the algorithms that run his platform and how to deal with the threats of extreme violence and white nationalism.