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Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Will Spend More Than $3.7 Billion on Safety, Security in 2019

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook
Alberto Est vez/Epa/REX/Shutters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed Monday to spend more than $3.7 billion on safety and security on the company’s platform this year. Zuckerberg made the commitment in a post to his Facebook profile that celebrated the company’s 15 year anniversary.

In the post, Zuckerberg wrote: “This year we plan to spend more on safety and security than our whole revenue at the time of our IPO.”

Asked to explain the remark, a Facebook spokesperson later clarified that this was in reference to the company’s 2011 revenue — the year before Facebook went public. That year, Facebook brought in $3.7 billion in revenue.

Zuckerberg had in the past frequently told investors that the company’s investments in safety and security were significant, and impacting its profits. However, he had never put an actual price tag to that spending.

During Facebook’s most recent earnings call, Zuckerberg said that Facebook ended 2018 with 30,000 people working on safety and security. Most of those staffers are thought to be contractors employed by third-party companies that Facebook pays to review and remove flagged posts. Facebook’s staff headcount at the end of 2018 was 35,587.

For some added context, Facebook’s 2018 revenue was $55 billion. The company brought in $22 billion in net income last year.

Zuckerberg also used his post to retell Facebook’s ascent from a small college-based website to a platform connecting 2.7 billion users worldwide. He went on to try to paint Facebook as a force for good, and complained that critics were focusing too much on the negative.

“There is a tendency of some people to lament this change, to overly emphasize the negative, and in some cases to go so far as saying the shift to empowering people in the ways the internet and these networks do is mostly harmful to society and democracy,” he wrote. “To the contrary, while any rapid social change creates uncertainty, I believe what we’re seeing is people having more power, and a long term trend reshaping society to be more open and accountable over time.”