- Over the past year, there was roughly one 911 call made from Facebook’s California headquarters every two days, about everything from medical emergencies to suspicious vehicles.
- Business Insider has obtained the call logs, which highlight the security and emergency issues the social-networking giant faces daily.
- There were multiple reports of people harassing Facebook employees – and in one incident, a Facebook security officer was sprayed in the face with Mace.
- There were four 911 calls within a month seeking mental evaluations, and more than 90 calls about medical emergencies throughout the year.
The man, who was not a Facebook employee, refused requests to leave the tech company’s campus, prompting Facebook employees to call 911.
Eight police officers arrived, but the man remained steadfast, ignoring their orders as he insisted he meet the Facebook CEO and even tried to seize a police officer’s equipment, according to police records. He was later found to have active warrants for his arrest.
On March 25, 2017, a man turned up at the Facebook campus’ main entrance saying he had been scammed after being told he had “won the Facebook lottery.” He left only after staff members called 911 and two police officers arrived.
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On August 18, an unidentified assailant sprayed Mace in a Facebook security officer’s face, then fled in a vehicle before Menlo Park police officers could apprehend them.
These incidents, which have not been previously reported, are in logs of 911 calls made from Facebook’s Menlo Park campus between January 10, 2017, and March 28, 2018. They provide a snapshot of the security issues that one of the world’s most valuable and recognisable corporations faces daily at its headquarters.
The 239 emergency calls made during the 14-month period – roughly one every two days – range from workplace incidents to encounters with potentially dangerous people drawn to Facebook’s offices.
The logs highlight the challenges tech companies face as they try to balance Silicon Valley’s tradition of open, university-like campuses and casual working culture with the security demands that come with offering services used by hundreds of millions – even billions- of people.
Concerns have been especially acute since a woman opened fire at YouTube’s California campus earlier this month, wounding three staffers before turning the gun on herself. Some have said the shooting could cause tech companies to rethink their approach to security.
Though the roughly 14,000 employees at Facebook’s campus work in buildings that require special access key cards but are surrounded by open space and parking lots accessible to the public. The Facebook thumbs-up “like” sign at the campus entrance is a magnet for tourists and visitors who want a photograph of themselves in front of it.
Google and some other tech companies have campuses that have even more space open to the public.
In a statement, a Facebook representative said: “The safety of our employees is paramount, and we work hard every day to maintain a safe and secure environment for our community.”
The representative declined to answer questions about specific incidents.
Mental evaluations and medical emergencies
In June and July, there were four 911 calls from Facebook’s campus requesting “mental evaluations” of unidentified individuals; on at least three occasions, the people were subsequently transported to a hospital.
Outside of that period, the logs show no other records of 911 calls seeking mental evaluations. It’s not clear whether the people evaluated were Facebook employees.
Of the other emergency calls, 91 were medical emergencies.
On August 2, a 24-year-old woman reported having difficulty breathing. On October 19, someone said they sprained their ankle. Last month, on March 8, a “call came in of a female that could not walk,” the logs say.
There were eight calls involving suspicious people or vehicles that were said to be bothering or harassing Facebook employees.
On March 31, 2017, there was a report of a white van driving recklessly on the campus, though police officers couldn’t ultimately locate it.
Someone “upset over Facebook account issues” turned up at Facebook’s campus on May 15, the logs say. After they were asked to leave, they were found in a nearby Starbucks. The person “was advised to stay away from campus and not return.”
There also appears to have been repeat offenders.
Just after 7:30 a.m. on August 11, someone called 911 to report “a subject that frequently comes on the campus and refuses to leave.” The person “does not have any complaints or does not demand to see anyone,” the logs say, “but continually causes a scene.”
The person was driven to a nearby Jack in the Box restaurant and told not to return – but they arrived back on campus a little before 1 p.m., prompting another 911 call, an escort off the premises, and an admonishment.
Mace, fires, and car crashes
The most severe incident reported in the more than 200 calls – and the only one classified as an assault – was of a man spraying Mace at a security officer.
Two officers “were dispatched to the location for a subject that just maced a Facebook security officer in the face,” the records say.
“The security officer refused medical services and the subject fled in a vehicle,” they continue. “Officers did an area check for the subject with the limited information they were provided and were unable to locate them.”
The assailant’s identity and motivation were unclear.
On October 11, someone turned up outside Facebook’s Building 10 and refused to leave, then got in their vehicle and started driving around campus.
“Officers located the vehicle and the subject and advised them they were not welcome on the Facebook campus,” the logs say.
On February 9, an “unknown subject” bothered a Facebook employee in a parking lot, leaving only when the employee called the police.
The logs also contain reports of common workplace incidents, including parking-lot fender-benders, a “small fire” coming from a barbecue shack on campus, and two people arguing about a “non-injury accident.”
On April 29, 2017, there was a report of a person who was not a Facebook employee riding one of the company’s branded campus bicycles in a nearby neighbourhood.
Almost half of the calls – 120 – were classified as accidental, such as pocket dials or immediate hang-ups.
Facebook isn’t unique
The kinds of incidents described in the 911 logs are not unique to Facebook – an examination of any major company would be likely to return similar results.
But the challenges that Facebook faces as a high-profile company with 2 billion users worldwide are particularly acute.
While the details of some of the reported incidents were unclear, others were directly linked to the company’s work, like the person said to be upset about account issues, or the man who visited the campus saying he wanted to speak to Zuckerberg.
Employees at other tech companies have experienced harassment from users. Business Insider previously reported that YouTube employees said they had for years been receiving violent threats from video “creators,” some of whom, they said, would camp outside the company’s offices for hours in an attempt to talk to employees about product changes.
Facebook is building a new campus in Menlo Park designed to integrate significantly more with the local community, featuring retail spots, housing, and public-park-style areas. Facebook says the intention is to “invest” in the local area – but the increased openness is likely to mean increased security challenges for the company.
Do you work for Facebook? Can you shed more light on any of the incidents? Contact the author at [email protected], via Twitter DM at @robaeprice, or via Signal at (650) 636-6268. Anonymity is guaranteed.
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