Facebook on Monday announced it would require all US employees to wear masks on the company’s office campuses, even if they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, CNBC first reported.
The new policy will start on Wednesday and remain until further notice. “The health and safety of our employees and neighbors in the community remains our top priority,” a spokeswoman for the company said in a statement to CNBC.
“Given the rising numbers of COVID cases, the newest data on COVID variants, and an increasing number of local requirements, we are reinstating our mask requirement in all of Facebook’s U.S. offices, regardless of an employee’s vaccination status,” the spokeswoman said.
The mask policy comes the week after the social-media giant announced that staff coming into US offices must be fully vaccinated.
Zuckerberg receives a pre-tax annual allowance of $10 million for his family’s security, and in 2020, Facebook spent an additional $13.4 million on personal security for Zuckerberg “at his residences and during personal travel pursuant to Mr. Zuckerberg’s overall security program,” the filing said.
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was the runner-up in the Protocol tally, with more than $7.6 million spent on her safety in 2020. Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai came in third with $5.4 million.
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was compensated $1.6 million by his company for security, while he paid additional costs himself. Meanwhile, Uber paid $120,000 to set up CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s home office, and has assigned a security specialist to his house, Protocol reported.
The $3 million rise in security spend from 2019 to 2020 was “primarily due to regular personal travel, costs relating to security protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, increased security coverage during the 2020 US elections and other periods with increased security risk, and market increases in the costs of security personnel,” Facebook said.
“Mr. Zuckerberg’s role puts him in a unique position,” the company wrote in the filing. “He is synonymous with Facebook, and as a result, negative sentiment regarding our company is directly associated with, and often transferred to, Mr. Zuckerberg.”
Zuckerberg accepted a $1 salary from Facebook, as he has in previous years, and didn’t receive any bonus payments or incentive compensation, the company said in the filing.
Facebook and other social media platforms faced a surge in misinformation on their sites when the pandemic started and the US elections kicked off. After former President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the election was stolen, including via his Facebook page, and triggered rioters to storm the US Capitol, the social media site suspended him indefinitely.
In March, Zuckerberg faced Congress with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to talk about spread of misinformation on their social media platforms. Zuckerberg also faced the Senate in November to be challenged by lawmakers about decisions Facebook took around the election.
Mark Zuckerberg got roasted by members of one of Facebook’s most popular groups after he violated its golden rule.
The Facebook CEO recently posted in the public group Dogspotting Society about a new feature that lets admins of a group designate members experts.
“Admins can collaborate with group experts to host Q&As, share perspectives, and respond to questions,” he wrote in the post. “I’m excited for you to try these updates, so I wanted to do a Q&A on something I may be a bit of an expert at: owning a Puli!”
Noticeably missing from his post was a picture of a dog. The group’s practice is that all posts should include a dog photo, a practice some members refer to as “paying the dog tax.”
Members were quick to point out Zuckerberg’s mistake.
“You should know better than anyone posts with a photo get the most traction here. SHOW THE DOG ZUCKERBERG,” one member commented. “He shouldn’t be exempt from paying dog tax,” another added. A third commenter chimed in, “You think you can just come in here without posting a photo of your dog? SHOW US THE DOG.”
It seems they got through to Zuckerberg. After answering questions about his dog, a Puli named Beast, in his group Q&A, Zuckerberg paid the required dog tax.
His latest post in Dogspotting Society includes several photos of his dog.
“This is a great group — keep up the dog spotting!” he wrote.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made unprofessional remarks to colleagues about COO Sheryl Sandberg after she joined the company, according to a new book.
Katherine Losse, who was Facebook employee No. 51, said he “mentioned to staff that Sandberg had ‘good skin,’ and said they should have ‘a crush’ on her,” according to An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination. Losse previously made these claims in her own book, “The Boy Kings.”
When it came to addressing improper comments made by other Facebook employees, things weren’t very different, Losse told the book’s authors, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang.
According to the book, at a company meeting, someone brought up a remark that a male employee had said to a female colleague: “I want to put my teeth in your a**.” Zuckerberg responded, “What does that even mean?” and Losse raised the matter with him later, the book says.
“He listened to me, which I appreciated, but understanding the crux of the matter; that is, that women by virtue of our low rank and small numbers were already in a vulnerable situation in the office, did not seem to register,” she told the book’s authors, who say she was “struck by his callowness.”
“When Mark said ‘what does that even mean?’ he was being dismissive of the comment,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. “In the meeting where the comment was addressed, he read the comment and made it clear it was unacceptable.”
Regarding the claims of Zuckerberg’s inappropriate remarks about Sandberg, the spokesperson said, “This is false. Mark never said this.”
A female former Facebook employee told Insider she didn’t hear Zuckerberg make any of these remarks, but it was possible he did. This employee joined Facebook in 2008, while Losse started working there in 2005.
“If he said it, I don’t recall it; it wasn’t said during my time,” she told Insider. “This commentary that makes it feel like it was very male-dominated or that women were all low-ranking and that they were all vulnerable and that there were all these sexist remarks floating about – that is not the Facebook I experienced at all.”
On her first day, Sandberg had made a good impression on the predominantly male engineers she spoke to in a meeting, according to the book. Zuckerberg had told the team Sandberg would help “scale” the company, the book says.
“We’re going to have one thousand people someday, and we’re going to have ten thousand people someday, and then forty thousand people someday,” she said in the meeting, according to the book. “And we’re going to get better, not worse. That’s why I’m here. To make us bigger and better, not worse.”
It says that security experts at Facebook grew concerned about posts by “domestic extremists” spreading on the platform before January 6, 2021, when Trump had planned a rally near the Capitol to push his bogus election fraud claims.
Facebook executives, the authors write, “floated getting Zuckerberg to call Trump to find out what the president would say” at the rally.
“They ultimately decided against the move, out of concern that the conversation would likely leak to the press. It could make Facebook complicit in whatever Trump did that day.”
In a statement to Insider, a Facebook spokesperson pushed back against the claims though did not address the specific claim that the idea of approaching Trump was dismissed before it was broached with Zuckerberg.
“No such discussion took place with Mark, nobody suggested he call, and he didn’t. If Trump ignored the pleas of his own Vice President, the idea that Mark Zuckerberg could have influenced him is absurd,” said the spokesperson.
Facebook executives, Frier wrote, decided not to act over the violent rhetoric. “Instead, they sat at home and watched as Trump stirred up the furious crowd, and as threats in Facebook posts escalated into real-world attacks on the Capitol.”
The excerpt from the book indicates that top executives knew that this was likely false.
Facebook in its statement to Insider said that “our teams were vigilant in removing content that violated our policies against inciting violence leading up to January 6th. We were prepared for this and have been more aggressive than any other internet company in combating harmful content, including content that sought to delegitimize the election.”
The spokesperson pointed to measures including banning extremist movements such as QAnon from the platform, and banning Trump for at least two years for his posts during the riot.
Trump and Zuckerberg had an uneasy relationship during Trump’s term, with the site one of the Trump campaign’s key platforms for its propaganda efforts.
Mark Zuckerberg was shocked to learn the Russian government had infiltrated Facebook during the 2016 election.
“Oh f—, how did we miss this?” he said in a December 2016 meeting with Facebook’s top brass, according to an upcoming book about the company, excerpted in Axios.
The Facebook CEO had just been briefed on information that nobody – including the US government – knew at the time, The New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang write in their book, “An Ugly Truth,” which comes out Tuesday.
The book excerpt reveals additional details about what exactly went down when Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg first learned about Russian interference on the platform, one of the company’s biggest scandals. “An Ugly Truth” is based on existing reporting by The New York Times.
Russia’s goal, Facebook’s chief security officer at the time, Alex Stamos, explained to the room of executives was to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
The revelation was a shocking one. The book details that “no one else spoke as Zuckerberg and Sandberg drilled their chief security officer.” The two executives asked why they were being told this now, nine months after Facebook’s security team first spotted Russian activity.
According to “An Ugly Truth,” “Stamos felt that he had been trying to sound the alarm on Russia for months.”
“It was well within my remit to investigate foreign activity within the platform,” Stamos said. “And we had appropriately briefed the people in our reporting chain … It became clear after that that it wasn’t enough.”
Frenkel and Kang write that “no one at the company knew the full extent of the Russian election interference,” according to Stamos, and that it could be much worse.
In response to demands made by Zuckerberg, executives then “promised to devote their top engineering talent and resources to investigate what Russia had done on the platform,” according to the excerpt.
The next year, Facebook would testify before Congress, saying that Russia-based operatives published about 80,000 posts between June 2015 and August 2017 – which may have reached as many as 126 million Americans – in an attempt to influence the presidential election.
Facebook’s board later issued a statement that it pushed Zuckerberg and other leaders to “move faster” in tackling Russian election interference on the platform.
“In 2016, we and those in the government and media did not fully recognize the nature and scope of foreign interference in our elections,” said Elana Widmann, a Facebook Company spokesperson. “Since 2017, we have removed over 150 covert influence operations originating in more than 50 counties, and a dedicated investigative team continues to vigilantly protect democracy on our platform both here and abroad.”
The 2017 federal intelligence report accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering “an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”
The declassified investigation concluded “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” Insider’s Brennan Weiss reported.
Facebook told Insider that the company is different than it was in 2016, applying the lessons learned from the incident in more than 200 elections around the world.
Leading up to the 2020 US presidential election, Facebook took down multiple influence operations coming out of Russia, Iran, China, and within the US. The company said it also removed more than 4.5 billion fake accounts and displayed warnings on 180 million pieces of content debunked by third-party fact-checkers.
In December 2016, Donald Trump, then president-elect, invited about a dozen tech leaders for a meeting at Trump Tower in New York.
The group, which included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google cofounder Larry Page, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was recorded by press photographers who captured a row of unhappy-looking tech executives.
But for Trump, it was important to gain the approval of some of the most powerful executives in the world.
While attendees at the meeting put a positive spin on it – Bezos said afterward that the meeting was “very productive” – things had been strained between the tech world and Trump. Bezos had suggested shipping Trump off to space aboard a Blue Origin rocket, Apple had declined to fund the Republican National Convention because of Trump, and, according to The Times, Sandberg was still in shock following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump and barely spoke at the meeting.
Still, Trump was optimistic about working with Silicon Valley leaders during the meeting, according to The Times.
“You’ll call my people, you’ll call me. It doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “We have no formal chain of command over here.”
Soon after the riots, Silicon Valley delivered the ultimate condemnation of Trump’s policies: locking him out of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, a temporary measure that has been extended indefinitely.
“And so we know it has become a giant source of misinformation and disinformation about the vaccines,” Klain added.
The last time the Klain and Zuckerberg spoke, he urged the CEO to “do better” at moderating COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on Facebook.
“His response was he cited the efforts Facebook was undertaking to try to put out good information, and I told him I recognize that Facebook is a source of a lot of good information about vaccines,” Klain said on the podcast. “But it also unfortunately is a source of a lot of bad information about vaccines.”
In a statement to Insider, a Facebook representative said the company has, “removed more than 18 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram that violate our COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policies, and labeled more than 167 million pieces of COVID-19 content rated false by our network of fact checking partners.”
Facebook has struggled and occasionally outright refused to moderate speech on its platforms.
Klain said he urged Zuckerberg to be extra vigilant on vaccine misinformation given the seriousness of the situation: Nearly 4 million people have died worldwide from COVID so far, according to the World Health Organization.
“I’ll let Mark Zuckerberg speak for himself, he certainly can,” Klain said. “But there is just no question that a lot of misinformation about the vaccines is coming from postings on Facebook. And this is a life or death situation here.”
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Facebook leapt into the $1 trillion territory on Monday after an antitrust court victory helped its stock reach that valuation for the first time, making it the fifth US company to achieve the milestone.
The social-media giant’s stock closed 4.2% higher on Monday at $355.64 per share, after a US federal judge dismissed two complaints filed against the company in December by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general.
The ensuing rally lifted Facebook into the trillion-dollar club as markets gave the court win a huge “like,” and boosted the rest of the tech sector, said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
US District Judge James Boasberg in Washington ruled that the FTC failed to support its claims that Facebook held monopoly power as it controls more than 60% of the social-networking market. However, the antitrust and consumer protection agency has 30 days to refile its complaint and try again.
Social networking “services are free to use, and the exact metes and bounds of what even constitutes a [social networking] service – i.e., which features of a company’s mobile app or website are included in that definition and which are excluded – are hardly crystal clear,” Boasberg said in the ruling dismissing the FTC’s complaint.
“The FTC’s inability to offer any indication of the metric(s) or method(s) it used to calculate Facebook’s market share renders its vague ‘60%-plus’ assertion too speculative and conclusory to go forward,” he added.
The judge separately dismissed a lawsuit brought by 46 states challenging Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp, on grounds that they waited too long to put forward their claims. The states’ attorneys general argued that Facebook had acquired those companies to stifle competition from emerging social-media rivals.
Facebook, co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, is the youngest of five US companies to hit the $1 trillion milestone, after just 17 years of existence. The Menlo Park, California-based company’s all-time-high market valuation sees it join other tech leaders Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google parent Alphabet in reaching the 13-digit mark.
Facebook’s stock has added more than $592 billion in value since it hit a March 2020 market-cap low of about $416 billion. Its gains have been aided by people increasingly relying on its platform for staying in touch with friends, family, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The soon-to-be-ex-Amazon CEO is something of an adventurer, what with his trips out to sea or to the bottom of caves. But that doesn’t exactly make him unique among his peers – in fact, a passion for extreme experiences seems to be a common trait among the world’s billionaires.
And Bezos isn’t even the only executive with a passion for space travel. Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Paul Allen, and Sergey Brin have all expressed an interest in leaving planet Earth.
But while outer space appears to be the dominant source of fascination for the world’s most powerful people, there are plenty of other billionaires with extreme pursuits of their own.
Jeff Bezos has used his extensive resources to fund extreme trips – and now, space travel.
While Bezos made his $200 billion fortune redefining retail, it seems his true passion lies in more extreme pursuits.
The Amazon CEO has spent his vacation time over the years on a range of unusual and, oftentimes exclusive pursuits: He went on a 50-mile horseback ride through West Texas alongside his father and his brother, Mark; he’s rappelled hundreds of feet down into dark caves, equipped with a harness and a headlamp; and he once spent three weeks at sea recovering pieces of the engine of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which took the first humans to the moon.
Richard Branson is known for his outlandish stunts and his passion for space tourism.
Branson is known for daredevilish antics: He jumped off the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in 2007, he kitesurfed the English Channel in 2012 (an activity he’s also performed with a naked model on his back), and he became the first man to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in a hot air balloon.
Perhaps more ambitious than Branson’s underwater pursuits, however, are his goals for space tourism. His space venture, Virgin Galactic, is focused on suborbital tourism where passengers can pay $200,000 to $250,000 for a luxurious trip to space. (The company plans to start accepting passengers next year.)
Sergey Brin appears to be a fan of all manner of flying objects, including spaceships.
Brin, the Google cofounder worth $108 billion, has a passion for unusual aircraft. For the past four years, Brin has been working on a secretive airship company known as LTA Research and Exploration — “LTA” being short for “lighter than air.” The company got its start inside NASA’s Ames Research Center and is working to bring its vision of zero-emission aircrafts to life.
While the goal of Brin’s airships is to deliver humanitarian aid, the ship — similar to a Zeppelin or blimp — is also luxuriously appointed so it could serve as an “intercontinental air yacht” for Brin’s friends and family.
But it seems Brin is hoping to go higher than even a blimp can take him. In 2008, Brin invested $5 million in space tourism company Space Adventures. According to Forbes, the investment was also a deposit for a future spaceflight.
The company has completed several spaceflights with private citizens including Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi and Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, but it’s unclear if and when Brin will embark on a trip of his own.
Paul Allen had a luxury submarine and a passion for underwater exploration.
Before Allen’s death in 2018 from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he was the owner of a fleet of fabulous megayachts. But aboard those luxury yachts was something more exotic: submarines and underwater vehicles capable of diving hundreds of feet into the depths of the ocean.
“It turns out if you go 1,000 feet down in the ocean, it’s really dark, and the animals are really strange,” Allen told Geekwire in 2011. “But if you put on some Pink Floyd, it’s fantastic.”
The details of Allen’s yachts and submarine were something of a secret, with Fred Rodie, one of Allen’s boatbuilders, telling the Seattle Times in 2007 that he’s “not really supposed to talk about the sub, but it’s a fancy one, a mighty nice piece of work.”
Allen’s submarine, named Pagoo, was 40 feet long, cost $12 million to build, fit eight passengers and two crew members, and was capable of diving for up to eight hours, according to the Seattle Times and Allen’s website. The best part? It was actually yellow.
Allen was passionate about underwater exploration and used his fleet of yachts, subs, and underwater vehicles to help find long-lost artifacts, including the wreckage of multiple World War I and II battleships. He was also present for director James Cameron’s 2012 dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, according to Geekwire.
And, like many of his peers, Allen had space ambitions of his own. In 2011, he launched Stratolaunch Systems with the goal of building the world’s largest airplane in order to launch satellites and send humans to space.
Mark Zuckerberg prefers sports like electric surfing and bow-hunting.
While Mark Zuckerberg’s pursuits are more Earth-bound than some of his fellow billionaires, he has plenty of extreme pastimes of his own.
The Facebook CEO is a fan (and talented user of) the Lift Foils efoil, an electric surfboard that retails for $12,000. He’s been spotted aboard the unusual surfboard multiple times near his property on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and has posted videos of himself successfully navigating choppy waters.
Zuckerberg’s interests appear to extend to other outdoor pursuits: He recently posted videos of himself using a bow and arrows and throwing spears in what appeared to be hunting practice, and he once served Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a goat he had killed as part of a 2011 challenge to only eat animals he killed himself.
Jack Dorsey meditates for hours each day and only eats dinner.
For Dorsey, a love of the extreme is much more inward focused. Rather than kitesurf or explore outer space, Dorsey fasts and participates in silent meditations.
In 2018, Dorsey spent his birthday in Myanmar doing a 10-day silent vipassana meditation. He described the experience on Twitter as “extremely painful”: He meditated from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day; wasn’t allowed to eat dinner, read, listen to music, or make eye contact with others; and ended up with 117 mosquito bites in a single night.
Larry Ellison has spent millions on yacht-racing and even founded his own racing league.
While Ellison has been passionate about sailing since his early 20s, he didn’t get serious about the sport until the 1990s, when he bought a 78-foot racing sailboat he called Sayonara. He started competing in races, winning world championships, once almost dying in a storm on Sydney Harbour.
He later began competing in the America’s Cup, an annual yacht race that takes place every three or four years. In 2010, Ellison and his crew won the race, with the then-65-year-old billionaire onboard.