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Facebook’s suffers biggest stock market wipeout in US history

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Facebook’s suffers biggest stock market wipeout in US history

Facebook has racked up plenty of milestones in its pioneering journey. Now the social-media giant is poised to add one it would doubtless rather avoid: the biggest stock-market wipeout in American history.

The social-media giant’s stock, among the most widely held in the nation, plunged 19 per cent after Facebook warned that its sizzling growth is slowing amid the user-privacy concerns and other controversies that have rocked the company in recent months.

The stock tumbled $US41.24 ($55.85) to $US176.26 a share, wiping out $US120 billion of Facebook’s overall stock-market value and lowering it to $US511 billion.

The loss was the largest daily dollar decline for a publicly held US company in history, topping a $US91-billion plunge in Intel’s stock in September 2000 during the tech bust, Bloomberg reported, though Intel’s drop is still bigger when adjusted for inflation. Exxon Mobil, already reeling from the financial crisis and recession in October 2008, lost $US53 billion one wretched Wednesday that month. And the slowest profit growth at Apple in 10 years triggered a loss of almost $US60 billion on January 24, 2013.

What is Cambridge Analytica?

The fall also quickly erased $US16.6 billion of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth tied to his ownership of company shares. Still, even after the loss, Zuckerberg’s stake was worth about $US70.8 billion.

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Simply put, the stock’s nosedive “has everything to do with not being able to grow forever,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group.

The financial comeuppance for a company that had revenue of nearly $US41 billion last year was tinged with irony.

Earlier this year, Facebook weathered an uproar surrounding the privacy of the more than 1.5 billion people who typically use its site each day.

The issue hit a fever pitch after it was learned the company had shared user data harvested from as many as 87 million accounts with the political consulting company Cambridge Analytica.

In after-hours trading, investors promptly dumped the stock, leaving some analysts irate that Facebook had not divulged ...
In after-hours trading, investors promptly dumped the stock, leaving some analysts irate that Facebook had not divulged its slowing growth earlier.

Reuters

Zuckerberg was forced to testify about the issues before US lawmakers three months ago, and Facebook began making changes to further protect user data.

Yet, through it all, Facebook’s stock price was unharmed, even trading at record highs this week.

But that all changed in a matter of minutes after Facebook announced its second-quarter results after the stock market closed.

‘It’s infuriating’

Zuckerberg was forced to testify about the issues before US lawmakers three months ago, and Facebook began making ...
Zuckerberg was forced to testify about the issues before US lawmakers three months ago, and Facebook began making changes to further protect user data.

David Rowe

In after-hours trading, investors promptly dumped the stock, leaving some analysts irate that Facebook had not divulged its slowing growth earlier.

“It’s infuriating, to be honest,” analyst Scott Devitt of Stifel Financial Corp. said in a note to clients. “Mark Zuckerberg has been talking and writing about fixing the business for months now and yet management is just now discussing its impact to financial results.”

To be sure, Facebook continues to grow rapidly. Its advertising revenue and total revenue, for instance, both surged 42 per cent in the quarter compared with a year earlier, and its profit jumped 31 per cent to $US5.1 billion – all gains most companies would envy.

But Wall Street was expecting even better gains to justify the price of Facebook’s stock. And because investors typically buy stocks at prices based on the expectation of future results, Facebook’s admission that its future revenue growth would slow was a tough pill for them to swallow.

Facebook's revenue of $US13.2 billion fell just shy of the $US13.3 billion analysts expected.
Facebook’s revenue of $US13.2 billion fell just shy of the $US13.3 billion analysts expected.

AP

Facebook’s revenue of $US13.2 billion fell just shy of the $US13.3 billion analysts expected – the first miss on a revenue forecast since 2015. And it didn’t help that user growth slowed in Facebook’s two most lucrative markets: North America and Europe.

The results were hit by investments the company made to bolster security in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a Russian misinformation campaign on its site.

More worrisome for investors, Facebook said it had to adhere to strict new privacy rules rolled out in Europe in May that slowed ad revenue growth there. Should such rules be adopted elsewhere – as privacy advocates suggest – that could signal slower ad growth in other markets.

The company already has made changes to its platform that have slowed revenue growth, such as providing new privacy options that limit how much data Facebook can collect to fuel its ad business.

Facebook has weathered an uproar surrounding the privacy of the more than 1.5 billion people who typically use its site ...
Facebook has weathered an uproar surrounding the privacy of the more than 1.5 billion people who typically use its site each day.

AP

Indeed, Scott Kessler, an analyst for CFRA Research, said the company is stepping into a new phase in which lawmakers and consumers worldwide are more savvy about their privacy.

“Legal and regulatory developments have led to changes intended to support Facebook’s platform and users, but they will notably restrain growth and profits for at least the next couple of quarters,” Kessler said.

Facebook has acknowledged that the tougher environment will hurt the company’s bottom line and has been warning about the limits of exponential growth. That, more than anything, is what spooked investors.

“We’re continuing to focus our product development around putting privacy first, and that’s going to, we believe, have some impact on revenue growth,” David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, told analysts on a conference call Wednesday.

Facebook also is emphasising new technology, such as its photo-and-video montage feature called Stories, which doesn’t generate nearly as much revenue as its news feed.

“Our total revenue growth rates will continue to decelerate in the second half of 2018,” Wehner said.

Devitt, the Stifel analyst, said the second-quarter results amounted to a “total reset” for Facebook, though he said he was “sticking with the stock on the sell-off because the damage is likely done and there is a good business here despite management.”

Other analysts said it was too early to tell if the second quarter amounted to a turning point, while some said the market overreacted to the results.

Twitter dropped 2.9 per cent and Snap, the parent of Snapchat, slipped 0.2 per cent.
Twitter dropped 2.9 per cent and Snap, the parent of Snapchat, slipped 0.2 per cent.

RICHARD DREW

Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research said the security updates in Europe, for instance, were a one-time hit for the company.

“This is one-time step down, not a building head wind,” Greenfield wrote in a research note titled “Facebook’s Death Has Been Greatly Exaggerated (by Facebook).”

Greenfield also noted that Facebook has a sizeable safety net in its growing subsidiaries: Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Those apps comport with Facebook’s near total focus on mobile, which is where the company earned 91 per cent of its ad revenue in the second quarter.

Another crumb of good news for tech investors: At least the brutal sell-off wasn’t contagious.

Twitter dropped 2.9 per cent and Snap, the parent of Snapchat, slipped 0.2 per cent. Amazon.com fell 3 per cent and Alphabet, the parent of Google, even edged up 0.8 per cent.

Those results were reflected in market indices.

The Nasdaq composite index, which is laden with tech stocks, fell 1 per cent to 7,852.18 on Thursday, but the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.4 per cent to 25,527.07.

Facebook ended the after-hours session down 20 per cent at $US173.50, a loss of about $US126 billion in market cap, having declined as much as 24 per cent earlier.

Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times

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King Princess’s ‘Holy’ Video Proves Maybe God Is A Woman After All

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King Princess’s ‘Holy’ Video Proves Maybe God Is A Woman After All

Scrap whatever summer aesthetic you were sticking to this season — rising pop star King Princess dropped a new video on Thursday (July 26), and it’s more stunning than any painting you’d find in the Louvre.

In the visual for “Holy,” co-directors Clare Gillen and Scott Ross give King Princess a dreamy, tiffany backdrop for “ruling with the velvet tongue.” The 19-year-old turns her face to the sun, swims in a crystal-clear pool, and poses in a field while teasing, “I’ll get you lost but I’m having fun.” Maybe Ariana Grande was right: god really is a woman.

“Holy” follows the videos for the Harry Styles-approved “1950” and the lovesick “Talia.” All three tracks appear on King Princess’s debut EP, Make My Bed, which arrived last month and cemented her as one of pop’s most promising — and most essential — new voices.

For more on the singer-songwriter, check out her recent interview with MTV News, in which she discusses gender, queerness, and feeling “other.”

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Snowboarder Ellie Soutter dies on 18th birthday

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Snowboarder Ellie Soutter dies on 18th birthday
Ellie Soutter celebrates her bronze medal at the 2017 Youth Olympic Winter Festival

Ellie Soutter, one of Britain’s most talented young snowboarders, died on her 18th birthday on Wednesday.

Soutter won a bronze medal for Great Britain at the 2017 Youth Olympic Winter Festival and carried the British flag at the closing ceremony.

This month she was named in the senior GB squad for the snowboard cross Europa Cup circuit, and was tipped for a place at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

She had been training abroad in recent weeks but was in the UK when she died.

“Ellie was an incredibly popular and well liked member of the team,” British Olympic Association chair Hugh Robertson and BOA Athlete Commission chair Ben Hawes said in a joint statement.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

The statement said Soutter was due to return to competition next month after being selected for the GB team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.

Soutter during the Youth Olympic Winter Festival in 2017

Soutter’s bronze was Team GB’s only medal at the Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Turkey last year.

Team GB celebrated her medal with the Twitter message: “Tears of joy and snow stuffed down her back.”

Speaking after her event, she said: “I cried as I crossed the line. I was just so emotional as it hasn’t been the best season for me and it’s finally on the way up.

“I even asked my coach to put snow down my back when I was in the start gate. It helps wake me up so I don’t feel all floppy like a jellyfish.

“I just hope this isn’t the last medal I win for Team GB. My goal is to compete at Beijing 2022.”

Team GB said Soutter grew up in Oxted, Surrey, before moving to the Alps, where she trained.

Soutter (left) competing in snowboard cross at the European Youth Olympics Winter Festival in 2017

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Home Office suspends cooperation with US over two Isis ‘Beatles’ who could face death penalty

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Home Office suspends cooperation with US over two Isis ‘Beatles’ who could face death penalty

The Home Office has temporarily suspended cooperation with US authorities over the case involving two British-raised jihadis who could face the death penalty.

Sajid Javid has been forced into the concession after he made the decision to waive Britain’s usual position of demanding assurances that the death penalty would not be applied. 

Two members of a British Isis cell known as “The Beatles”, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, had been stripped of their British citizenship before they were captured in Syria earlier this year. 

They are currently imprisoned by the Syrian Democratic Forces but are set to be transferred to the US after months of diplomatic wrangling over which country would take responsibility for their prosecution.

In a letter to Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general, Mr Javid insisted that the case does not impact on the UK’s opposition to the death penalty, but did not seek the normal assurances that it would not be used.

The decision was taken by Mr Javid and Boris Johnson, the then foreign secretary, and was approved by Theresa May. 

However, after Mr Javid was put on notice that Elsheikh was intending to apply for a judicial review to quash the decision, he temporarily suspended cooperation with US authorities. 

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Yesterday we received a request from the legal representative of the family of one of the suspects to pause the MLA [mutual legal assistance] response. We have agreed to a short-term pause. 

“The government remains committed to bringing these people to justice and we are confident we have acted in full accordance of the law and within the government’s longstanding MLA policy.”


The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

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Ellie Soutter death: Team GB snowboarder has died, aged 18

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Ellie Soutter death: Team GB snowboarder has died, aged 18

Team GB snowboarder Ellie Soutter has died at the age of 18, the British Olympic Association has announced.

Soutter, “one of the country’s best up-and-coming snowboarders”, died on her 18th birthday on Wednesday.

Last year she claimed Team GB’s only medal at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkey.

A Freeride and Boardercross specialist, she had just been selected for the British team for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.

She had been training abroad in recent weeks but was back home in the UK when she died.

“Ellie was an incredibly popular and well liked member of the team,” British Olympic Association chair Hugh Robertson and BOA Athlete Commission chair Ben Hawes said in a joint statement.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

British Ski and Snowboard meanwhile said in a statement: “Ellie was one of the country’s best up-and-coming snowboarders, competing in both snowboard cross and freeride”.

The statement added that Soutter had been due to return to competition next month.

Her father, Tony Soutter, said he was “so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into”.

This cruel world took my soulmate and “Bessie” from me yesterday on her 18th birthday,” he posted on Facebook.

“I was so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into. Ellie I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little Champion!”

The young snowboarder has died aged 18 (Team GB)

Soutter, who grew up in Surrey before moving to the Alps, was due to return to snowboard cross competition next month.

She was an inaugural member of the British Europa Cup snowboard cross programme, and had been tipped to win a place in the Team GB squad for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Her official website described going to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as her “ultimate ambition”, while listing her as an ambassador for the Les Gets Ski Station in the French Alps.

No further details have been given about her death at this time.

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.

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How Nicholas Moore remade Macquarie Group

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How Nicholas Moore remade Macquarie Group

Nicholas Moore is going out on top – literally.

Before Macquarie’s shares dipped 3 per cent on Thursday after Moore announced his retirement, the company’s stock was sitting near its all-time high of $126.70, some 90 per cent higher than when Moore officially started as chief executive in May 2008. Total shareholder return over the period is 274 per cent.

“I’ve had a very good opportunity, I’ve had a very good turn,” Moore tells The Australian Financial Review on Thursday afternoon. “It just feels right now for me and for Macquarie.”

The dark days of GFC, when the stock sunk as low as $15.49 in March 2009, seem an eon ago.

But you don’t have to go back that far to find moments when Moore and the Macquarie model he set up were under real pressure.

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In early 2013, Bill Moss, one of the architects of Macquarie’s investment banking powerhouse, went public with criticisms of the group’s board, demanding fresh blood and attacking the group’s returns.

“It’s sad to watch a great iconic Australian business struggling to find the right strategy,” Moss said.

Moss might have been particularly outspoken, but his view wasn’t extreme. Macquarie’s earnings had dipped from $1.9 billion in 2008, before the GFC, to $762 million in the 2012 financial year.

The stock was hovering under $40 and return on equity had fallen from 23.7 per cent in 2008 to around 7 per cent.

Moss would get his fresh blood, with four new directors joining over the next two years, including Gordon Cairns, Patricia Cross, Nicola Wakefield Evans and Professor Gary Banks.

But beneath these board changes, Moore’s remaking of Macquarie was gaining speed.

His appointment couldn’t have come at more difficult time. The GFC shook Macquarie’s business model, and while the group continued to churn out profits, it was exposed as having too much reliance on the performance of capital markets.

Macquarie was able to lean on a government general guarantee of deposits and a special wholesale funding arrangement to help it through the crisis, while two would-be challengers, Babcock & Brown and Allco Financial Group, collapsed.

Nicholas Moore faced big challenges in his first years in charge, but he cleverly used the GFC to change Macquarie.
Nicholas Moore faced big challenges in his first years in charge, but he cleverly used the GFC to change Macquarie.

tim.boyd

Former Macquarie board member Helen Nugent, who took a break between meetings on Thursday to call in at the Macquarie annual general meeting and “doff her cap” to Moore and his team, says the GFC demonstrated one of Moore’s great strengths.

“He’s incredibly calm under pressure, which he certainly showed during the GFC,” Nugent says.

“That certainly engenders a great sense of what I would call ‘urgent focus’ … people feel empowered to act.”

Moore says the challenges thrown at him in his early years in the role were made easier by the support of the Macquarie board and the shared ethos of management.

New Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake with outgoing CEO Nicholas Moore at the Macquarie Group AGM on Thursday.
New Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake with outgoing CEO Nicholas Moore at the Macquarie Group AGM on Thursday.

Janie Barrett

“Everybody knows what we’re about and everybody has signed up to it,” he says.

“We are prepared to invest for the long-term, certainly for the medium term. We don’t expect immediate results, and we fully expect the world to turn out different to how we expect.

“What we are good at is seeing where we get to and changing our plans, changing our focus on an ongoing business.”

A crisis not wasted

Former Macquarie board member Helen Nugent says the GFC demonstrated one of Moore's great strengths.
Former Macquarie board member Helen Nugent says the GFC demonstrated one of Moore’s great strengths.

Sasha Woolley

This was also shown through the GFC, which, as one long-time Macquarie insider says, helped clarify the direction Moore needed to take the group.

“It’s hard to change things when things are going well. In a crisis you can change things, and change them quickly,” the insider says.

Moore’s great legacy at Macquarie has been the shift from volatile market-facing businesses (such as investment banking, securities broking, capital advisory, fixed income, currencies and commodities) towards annuity-style businesses, such as funds management (run by Moore’s successor Shemara Wikramanayake), banking and financial services and corporate and asset finance.

Before the GFC, annuity-style businesses accounted for 32 per cent of income. Today it sits around 70 per cent.

“I think they’re probably not given enough credit for how they’ve transformed the business away from that investment banking model,” says Matt Haupt, the portfolio manger for WAM Leaders, witch holds Macquarie shares.

A key plank of Moore’s transformation was the $US428 million purchase of Philadelphia-based Delaware Investments in the second half of 2009. It would deliver Macquarie more than $US125 billion in assets under management and more than 500 employees, and set Macquarie on its path to becoming the world’s biggest infrastructure asset manager, with $495 billion under management today.

That deal would also push Macquarie further into offshore markets, which has been the second plank of Moore’s Macquarie model. Today more than two thirds of Macquarie’s earnings are generated offshore, and its empire stretches across almost 30 countries.

Moore has also led the business into new areas such as energy trading (it is now the second biggest gas trader in the United States) and into emerging and lucrative sectors such as renewable energy.

Moore's great legacy at Macquarie has been the shift from volatile market-facing businesses towards annuity-style ...
Moore’s great legacy at Macquarie has been the shift from volatile market-facing businesses towards annuity-style businesses, such as funds management, banking and financial services and corporate and asset finance.

Supplied

Asked on Thursday to nominate his highlights from a decade in charge, Moore did a good impersonation of a father refusing to choose his favourite child: “It’s hard to pick a particular highlight, there are so many highlights.

“Delaware from Macquarie Asset Management viewpoint is very significant, but just as significant is what’s happened in Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, where we’ve seen the assets step up and totally renew.

“If you look at the Macquarie Capital, if you go back 10 years ago, that business was making less than 10 per cent of what it’s doing today.”

Moore also mentions the doubling of the size of Macquarie’s banking and finance division and the resilience of his markets business as important in taking earnings to a record $2.6 billion in 2017-18.

That desire to share the credit sums up Moore, Nugent says.

“He’s absolutely selfless,” she says. “He’s interested in what’s for the good of the company and making other people give of their best, rather than it being about him. The consequence of that is he just engenders incredible loyalty in his staff.”

Of course, there have been problem areas during Moore’s tenure too. Its acquisition of Thames Water in Britain led to accusations of tax minimisation and the misuse of debt.

Cultural issues that have plagued Macquarie’s wealth-management businesses appear to continue. At Macquarie’s AGM, chairman Peter Warne reported there had been 157 conduct and policy breaches inside the group in the 2018 financial year.

“It’s hard to pick a particular highlight, there are so many highlights.”

Louie Douvis

Moore was giving no clues as to his next move, but one former colleague said he was unlikely to disappear from Australian business completely.

“He’s an intellectually curious and energised guy. You couldn’t imagine a more compelling business mind.”

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Brexit: Michel Barnier rules out Theresa May’s Chequers customs plan

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Brexit: Michel Barnier rules out Theresa May’s Chequers customs plan

The European Commission’s chief negotiator has ruled out a key part of Theresa May’s Brexit customs plan, effectively killing her attempt to preserve frictionless trade.

Michel Barnier said the EU could not agree to let another country collect European customs duties on its behalf – a key principle of the British plan for the future relationship.

However, he said the bloc was open to having a customs union with Britain, a proposal which is also advocated by Labour.

“The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy, of its rules, VAT and excise duty collections to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures,” Mr Barnier said, after meeting Brexit secretary Dominic Raab in Brussels.

He added: “Any customs arrangements or customs union … must respect this principle. A customs union, which would help to reduce friction at the border, would come with our common commercial policy for goods.”

The comments represent the first time Mr Barnier has definitively rejected the proposal in the UK’s white paper. Last week he subjected the policies to a series of intensive questions, but was careful not to definitively rule anything out – though he suggested they may not be legally feasible.

The proposal by the UK is a bid to remove the need for customs checks on goods travelling between the UK and EU, without committing to being a member of an actual customs union.

The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy, of its rules, VAT and excise duty collections to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures

Michel Barnier, European Commission chief Brexit negotiator

It would have seen British customs staff charge both British and EU tariffs on goods entering the UK, whichever was the highest, based on what the expected final destination of the good was.

It sits alongside a UK proposal to align itself with some of the EU’s single market rules, in order to remove the need for border checks on goods and preserve frictionless trade after Brexit.

The EU has also raised serious questions about that plan, suggesting it would give the UK a significant competitive advantage over Europe without any advantage for EU states.

Speaking on Thursday at the same press conference, Mr Barnier re-stated that the EU’s single market and its four freedoms were indivisible and could not be cherry-picked.

British and EU negotiators held meetings about the future relationship this week, as well as well as the remaining withdrawal agreement issues and the Northern Ireland “backstop”.

It is the so-called backstop that is causing the biggest risk of a no-deal Brexit, with the problem apparently intractable. Theresa May has said “no UK prime minister” could sign up to the EU’s plan to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and single market in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland, while the EU has said the UK’s proposals do not go far enough to prevent a hard border.

The UK’s Mr Raab reiterated the British position that the backstop had to be “time limited”, a stipulation which the EU has also rejected, suggesting that would make it “no backstop at all”.

“With pragmatism on both sides I am confident we can find a way to resolve it into a workable solution,” Britain’s chief negotiator said.

“That will be easier to achieve if it is clear that the backstop, if it were to be exercised at all, could only be for a time-limited period before the permanent future arrangements would become operational.”

Ireland and the European parliament, who have vetoes on the final deal, have both said a withdrawal agreement without a backstop to prevent a hard border in Ireland would be of no use to them. The EU has said any backstop must be “all weather”.


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Facebook approves $10 million a year for Zuckerberg family security

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Facebook approves $10 million a year for Zuckerberg family security

Facebook approved a $10 million annual pre-tax allowance to amplify security for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his family.

announced in an SEC filing on Thursday, increases Facebook’s security spend on Zuckerberg from $7.3 million last year.

“This allowance will be in addition to the continued funding of Mr. Zuckerberg’s overall security program to cover the costs of security personnel for his protection; the procurement, installation, and maintenance of certain required security measures for his residences; and the usage of private aircraft for personal travel,” Facebook wrote in a filing.

Facebook disclosed it would pay Zuckerberg the allowance, which he can use to pay for security personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements and more.

The social media company said it took into account Zuckerberg’s “position and importance to Facebook,” as well as his salary, which was just $1 last year.

“The Committee believes that this allowance, together with the costs of Mr. Zuckerberg’s existing overall security program, are appropriate and necessary under the circumstances,” the SEC filing said.

Zuckerberg’s personal security budget has been climbing throughout the years from $4.2 million in 2015, according to a proxy statement, filed in April.

COO Sheryl Sandberg also has an authorized security program, which amounted to $2.7 million last year.

Read the full text of the filing below:

As previously disclosed, the Compensation & Governance Committee (the Committee) of our Board of Directors has authorized an overall security program for Mark Zuckerberg to address safety concerns due to specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position as Facebook’s founder, Chairman, and CEO. We require security measures for the company’s benefit because of the importance of Mr. Zuckerberg to Facebook. The Committee regularly reviews Mr. Zuckerberg’s security program and the related costs, which vary from year to year depending on requisite security measures, Mr. Zuckerberg’s travel schedule, and other factors.

On July 24, 2018, the Committee approved an annual pre-tax allowance of $10 million to Mr. Zuckerberg to cover additional costs related to his and his family’s personal security. This allowance will be in addition to the continued funding of Mr. Zuckerberg’s overall security program to cover the costs of security personnel for his protection; the procurement, installation, and maintenance of certain required security measures for his residences; and the usage of private aircraft for personal travel. This allowance will be paid to Mr. Zuckerberg net of required tax withholdings, and Mr. Zuckerberg may apply the net proceeds to pay for additional personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements, or other security-related costs.

In approving this annual security allowance, the Committee considered Mr. Zuckerberg’s position and importance to Facebook and the fact that Mr. Zuckerberg has requested to receive only $1 in annual salary and does not receive any bonus payments or equity awards. The Committee also considered comparative data from the peer group of companies that Facebook benchmarks against for executive compensation purposes, as well as other relevant information regarding executive compensation and perquisites. The Committee believes that this allowance, together with the costs of Mr. Zuckerberg’s existing overall security program, are appropriate and necessary under the circumstances.

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Aberdeen 1-1 Burnley: Gary Mackay-Steven and Sam Vokes trade goals

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Aberdeen 1-1 Burnley: Gary Mackay-Steven and Sam Vokes trade goals
Gary Mackay-Steven, second left, scored eight times last season for Aberdeen

Aberdeen and Burnley traded goals in the first leg of this all-British Europa League qualifier, leaving the tie wide open before the second leg at Turf Moor next week.

Winger Gary Mackay-Steven’s 19th-minute penalty – after England international James Tarkowski impeded Sam Cosgrove – put the Scottish Premiership runners-up ahead at Pittodrie.

But their English Premier League visitors levelled with 10 minutes left when Sam Vokes spun and lashed a shot past Joe Lewis from seven yards.

The second leg will be next Thursday, with the winners playing Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in the third qualifying round.

Ferocious Aberdeen show no fear

Burnley’s faithful swelled Pittodrie to bursting point and gave the old place a terrific atmosphere, a thunderous environment for a first leg that fizzled from the start.

This was Burnley’s first venture into Europe in more than half a century. Maybe they had their eyes on a slightly more glamorous city for their return, but they could scarcely have found a more passionate one.

Aberdeen have stood accused in the recent past of being a little timid when playing against a more illustrious team. Namely, Celtic.

Not here. Not this time. They were big and strong and aggressive. They had an edge from start to finish.

Burnley are well down the pecking order of the Premier League’s biggest spenders, despite finishing seventh last season, but in Aberdeen terms they are richer than kings. None of that mattered.

Burnley had the misfortune of losing Nick Pope after only 11 minutes when chaos in his six-yard box saw bodies flying and the goalkeeper having to leave the field hurt. Anders Lindegaard came on and within seven minutes he was facing down a penalty.

It was soft. Tarkowski’s arm was adjudged to have made contact with Cosgrove’s face and Mackay-Steven duly sent Lindegaard the wrong way. To add to Burnley’s sense of injustice, Tarkowski was booked.

Burnley have the last laugh

Sam Vokes’ away goal came after a second half in which Burnley dominated

“Premier League – you’re having a laugh,” was the cry of the home fans, but their gently mocking words started to fall silent when Burnley began to dominate.

Aaron Lennon had the pace, but he only got on the ball fleetingly and none of what he did or his fellow midfielders amounted to much in terms of troubling Joe Lewis in Aberdeen’s goal.

Of course, there had to be moments from Burnley and, sure enough, early in the second half they started to ask a few questions.

Not a goal, but an uncomfortably close shave for the hosts who needed an instinctive save from Lewis to deny Jack Cork and then relied on the goalkeeper again to paw away a dangerous delivery from Lennon seconds after.

Aberdeen might have made it two had Mackay-Steven not delayed his pass on the counter-attack soon after that Burnley flurry. When it came, it was too late. Cosgrove got a shot away but Lindegaard dealt with it easily. Then, Mackay-Steven had a back-header tipped clear by the Burnley goalkeeper.

It all looked highly promising for the Dons. The centre-halves, Michael Devlin and Scott McKenna, were towering forces in a robust defence. And then they got suckered.

A cross into the box was won by Chris Wood and when the loose ball came to Vokes, on as a second-half substitute, he took a touch, spun and walloped it past Lewis from close-range. A class finish, but untypically soft defending from the home team, a lack of concentration that was exploited expertly by the Welshman.

All square, then, heading to Turf Moor next week. Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, said he just wanted the tie to be alive after the 90 minutes in Aberdeen. It is.

The advantage lies with Sean Dyche’s side, but there’s life left in this one yet.

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Three Midwestern Senate Democrats have big leads in new polls to go along with massive cash advantages

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Three Midwestern Senate Democrats have big leads in new polls to go along with massive cash advantages

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., prepares for a CQ podcast with Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., in Hart Building on July 12, 2018.










Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., prepares for a CQ podcast with Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., in Hart Building on July 12, 2018.

  • Michigan: Sen. Debbie Stabenow tries to hold her seat in another state the president won by less than a percentage point. An NBC/Marist poll indicates she may have little trouble against either of her potential opponents as of now. Fifty-five percent of registered voters responded that they would back Stabenow, versus 37 percent who said they would support veteran and businessman John James, the survey said. Against businessman Sandy Pensler, the Democrat garners 52 percent of support, compared with 37 percent for Pensler. Michigan holds its primaries on Aug. 7.
  • Minnesota: Sen. Tina Smith — who was appointed to fill Al Franken’s seat following his resignation at the start of the year — also has a comfortable cushion, according to an NBC/Marist poll. Smith is running in a special election, as Franken’s term was not set to end until 2020. Forty-nine percent of registered voters support Smith, versus 35 percent who back her likely opponent, businesswoman Karin Housley, the survey says. The survey did not poll voters on the race for Democrat Amy Klobuchar‘s seat, which is considered safe for Democrats. Minnesota will hold its primaries on Aug. 14.

The polls are more good news for the Democrats running in the three states, who enjoy a huge cash advantage over their opponents.

In Wisconsin, Baldwin has a big financial lead over possible opponents Nicholson and Vukmir. Baldwin had raised more than $21 million as of the end of June, and had roughly $7.2 million in in cash on hand. That compares with roughly $5 million raised by both opponents combined, who each had less than $1 million in cash on hand.

But the Wisconsin Senate race has drawn a surge of so-called outside spending from super PACs that don’t have limits on what they raise or spend, often on TV and digital advertising campaigns. As of June 30, some $6.4 million in soft money had been spent in support of Nicholson and $1.4 million to boost Vukmir’s campaign, while only $1 million had been spent to support Baldwin. Some $4.3 million went toward opposing Baldwin, compared with $2.4 million opposing Vukmir and $451,000 against Nicholson.

In Michigan, Stabenow has a solid fundraising lead with nearly $15 million in cash taken in and $9.6 million in cash on hand, as of June 30. Her GOP challengers, Pensler and James, had raised $9.1 million between them and ended June with a combined $3.6 million.

Stabenow also benefited from outside spending of $1.4 million supporting her campaign; her opponents drew less than $300,00 in outside spending to the race.

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