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.
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.
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.