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Meta cranks Zuckerberg's personal security budget to $14m while cutting everything else

'Year of efficiency' includes accounting for more threats toward CEO caused by 'year of efficiency'

Facebook parent company Meta is slashing costs practically everywhere, but it's not cutting founder Mark Zuckerberg's considerable personal security budget – that's actually getting a $4m boost.

In an SEC filing published yesterday, Meta said Zuck's personal security budget would be increased to a pre-tax allowance of $14 million after having been previously set at $10 million in 2018.

That massive security budget is necessary "to address safety concerns due to specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position as Meta's founder, Chairman, and CEO," the company said in its filing, adding: "Meta requires security measures for the company's benefit because of the importance of Mr Zuckerberg to Meta."

Prior to setting the $10 million security budget in 2018 "to pay for additional personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements, or other security-related costs," Zuckerberg's security costs were still paid by Facebook, but they varied considerably from year to year.

In 2016, it came out that Facebook spent $16 million on Zuck's security detail in the five years prior, which the company defended at the time as "appropriate and necessary" despite the exorbitant costs Zuckerberg needed to protect himself compared to other Silicon Valley leaders.

As The Register reported in 2017, Zuckerberg's $4.26 million spent in the prior year on private security was nearly four times that of the next most paranoid well-protected tech leader: Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who only used $1.6m on his security in the same period.

Zuckerberg's security costs continue to dwarf those of other tech leaders, and aren't limited to what Meta budgets for him: on top of his $10 million security allowance, Zuck used an additional $13.4 million of Meta money on security in 2020.

But remember, this is the year of efficiency

Among the job cuts wave that started in late 2022 and hasn't yet stopped, Meta's layoffs of 13 percent of its global headcount – more than 11,000 people – was one of the largest in the industry. 

Those layoffs were one of the most difficult decisions to make in Meta's history, Zuck said, but the cuts haven't ended there. As part of what he dubbed "the year of efficiency," Zuckerberg said earlier this month that it was canceling datacenter projects and planned to consolidate its facilities, including through possibly "abandoning" leases – a cost-saving measure that seems to be gaining popularity around the Valley. 

But that's not all: the metaphorical signs around Meta's offices are pointing to another wave of inbound layoffs, with the Financial Times this week reporting the social media company is delaying finalizing team budgets; that, in turn, has caused morale and productivity to tank, said the San Francisco Gate. Meta also reportedly asked several of its managers and directors to transition to individual contributor jobs or quit, indicating the Meta org chart is being flattened too. 

Zuckerberg is wealthy enough to only need to draw a $1 annual salary from Meta, which the company uses to justify the security budget. In addition to essentially not receiving a salary, Zuck "does not receive any bonus payments, equity awards, or other incentive compensation," Meta said.

Funnily enough, neither do more than 11,000 people who used to work for him. Maybe that security budget does make a bit of sense. ®

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