Facebook office evacuated after suspicious package identified

Four Facebook buildings were evacuated Monday because of a package that was “deemed suspicious” for a toxic substance.


Facebook may have been the target of an attack after a machine at one of the social network’s mail-sorting facilities warned of a possible toxic substance.

Menlo Park Fire District said a hazardous materials team is on the scene at the building, which normally has about five or six people working there. Both NBC News Bay Area and KRON 4, which at first said the substance may have been sarin, said no employees were exposed, though initially there were indications two people may have been. 

Facebook, in a statement, said a package delivered to one of its mail rooms was “deemed suspicious” around 11 a.m. PT, without providing additional details.

“We evacuated four buildings and are conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with local authorities,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement, adding that the substance has not yet been identified. “As of now, three of the evacuated buildings have been cleared for repopulation. The safety of our employees is our top priority and we will share additional information when it is available.” 

The possible attack at Facebook and the response highlight the increasing concerns tech companies have over security, which is spilling over into their home communities.

In April 2018, a woman shot three people at YouTube’s headquarters, about 20 minutes south of San Francisco, before turning the gun on herself. In that case, the shooter appeared to be angry at how YouTube had handled her channels and videos.

And in December of last year, Facebook evacuated its headquarters after receiving an anonymous bomb threat that turned out to be a false alarm.

Business Insider said an MPFD official said Monday that sarin was detected in a mail bag at Facebook during a routine test, and that its detection may have been a false positive. So far, no one was showing symptoms of exposure.

CBS News confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is responding to Facebook’s headquarters at the request of the hazmat team.

The FBI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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