It costs $5M to keep Zuckerberg safe, and four more tidbits we learned from Facebook

The world's largest social network reported blockbuster revenue and profits. But that's not all we found out about the company.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
4 min read
Enlarge Image

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's salary hasn't changed.

James Martin/CNET

Facebook's history is already the stuff of Silicon Valley legend: CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard soon after launching the social network, which became one of the world's most influential companies less than a decade later.

On Wednesday, we learned more details about Facebook, including the June 20 date for its annual shareholders meeting in Redwood City, about 20 minutes up the road from its Menlo Park, California, headquarters.

Here are five new Facebook facts:

1. Zuckerberg still earns just a buck

Zuckerberg followed in the footsteps of Apple's Steve Jobs when he asked that his salary be set at $1, and it remains so to this day. That doesn't mean he's poor. He owns nearly 422 million shares of Facebook stock. Those shares, along with his other assets, are worth roughly $47.5 billion, according to Forbes.

What might surprise you is that $1 is all he gets. Zuckerberg obviously has a lot of Facebook stock already, but he doesn't receive any additional stock grants as part of his compensation, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook said it believes his "existing equity ownership position sufficiently aligns his interests with those of our stockholders."

Meanwhile, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gets a $700,000 base salary, CFO David Wehner makes $650,000, and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox earns $625,000 as does CTO Mike Schroepfer. They all get bonuses and stock as well.

2. It costs over $5 million a year to keep him safe

Lots of people want your attention when you're the fourth-richest person in the US and the 19th-most-powerful person on the planet, according to Forbes. That's why Zuckerberg has a security detail, or "program" in Facebook parlance, to address potential concerns.

According to Facebook, there have been specific threats made against him. So the Menlo Park, California-based company has security measures in place at Zuckerberg's personal residences (plural) and pays for his security personnel. Zuckerberg also has a private airplane covered under this program. All told, it costs more than $5 million per year.

This year, Facebook began reporting security for Sandberg as well, which cost nearly $1.3 million. The company didn't say whether she gets a plane, too.

3. Some shareholders want an equal vote

Facebook is called a "controlled company," meaning Zuckerberg has ultimate control. That's not just because he owns a lot of Facebook shares, but also because he has special "Class B" shares, which have 10 votes per share. Facebook is now preparing to offer new "Class C" shares, which are non-voting.

Some shareholders don't like this arrangement and are putting forth a proposal for the shareholders meeting to make all shares equal.

"Without a voice, shareholders cannot hold management accountable," the shareholder proposal reads.

Zuckerberg disagrees with this. In a conference call with analysts, he noted that his control of the company allowed him to resist pressure to sell early on.

"Facebook has been built by a series of bold moves," he said. "And when I look out at the future, I see more bold moves ahead of us than behind us."

Shareholder proposals like this, particularly in successful tech companies, don't often pass.

Watch this: News Bites: Keeping Mark Zuckerberg safe

4. You won't hear about Oculus sales any time soon

Those Oculus VR goggles that Zuckerberg believes herald the next major stage in computing may indeed change the world. But that doesn't mean they will any time soon. Wehner said in an interview that it is "too early" to discuss sales of the Rift headset, which began arriving on customers' doorsteps March 28. It is also too early to tell when Facebook might start talking about Oculus sales.

Wehner later said Oculus won't have a "material" impact on sales this year. And Zuckerberg repeated his common refrain that while virtual reality promises to be big, it will have a slow start.

"We don't expect VR to take off as a mainstream success right away," he said. "I really want to emphasize that."


5. Zuckerberg feels a duty to fix the world

In December, Zuckerberg announced the birth of his first child, Max, and the creation of a $45 billion philanthropic effort called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. At the time, he said the organization will focus on "improving this world for the next generation."

"We have a basic moral responsibility to tilt our investments," he added.

In a letter to investors Wednesday, he expanded on that sentiment, saying he wants to "help cure all diseases by the end of this century." That's in addition to "upgrading our education system so it's personalized for each student, and protecting our environment from climate change."

If that sounds ambitious, well, it is. Only time will tell if 31-year-old Zuckerberg can pull it off.