Facebook staff sarin for a bad day: Suspected chemical weapon parcel sent to Silicon Valley HQ

Package triggered test equipment, buildings evacuated, no one exposed

Facebook headquarters from Shutterstock

Updated Staff were evacuated today at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters after a package believed to contain the chemical weapon sarin was delivered to the antisocial network.

Buildings were cleared out at the Menlo Park campus after the parcel triggered equipment designed to inspect all incoming mail for toxins and other nasties. The alarm raised indicted a possible presence of deadly sarin.

"At 1100 PDT this morning, a package delivered to one of our mail rooms was deemed suspicious," Facebook said in a statement to The Register.

"We evacuated four buildings and are conducting a thorough investigation in coordination with local authorities. Authorities have not yet identified the substance found. 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."

While NBC Bay Area initially reported that two people were being observed for possible exposure to the killer nerve agent, it is now understood that nobody has been harmed.

A false positive result from the machine has not been ruled out.

Firefighters, FBI, cops, and the National Guard are understood to have shown up after the alarm was raised.

Facebook has had no shortage of criticism and controversy in recent months for its handling of a number of incidents, ranging from its ties to Cambridge Analytica to its irresponsible handling of private user images and data, and for its policies regarding hate groups which were criticized by a civil rights lawyer just this past weekend.

But a chemical weapons attack would be something very new for Silicon Valley. Last year three people were shot after a deranged vegan bodybuilder tried to take revenge for being deplatformed but, to date, no-one has tried a chemical attack. Here's hoping it's a false positive and things not having a escalated. ®

Updated to add

Facebook's been given the all clear. After extensive testing, no actual sarin was detected.

Sponsored: How to get more from MicroStrategy by optimising your data stack

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER




Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019