Facebook evacuated four buildings Monday after mail that contained a substance thought to be the nerve agent sarin was discovered in a facility near its Silicon Valley headquarters.
According to multiple media reports, the substance has not yet been definitively identified. Originally developed in the 1930s as a pesticide, sarin became widely known after being used in a deadly attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995. It is a clear, colorless, tasteless and often odorless liquid that can spread once it evaporates.
Facebook did not immediately respond to Deadline’s request for comment.
A company spokesman was widely quoted saying workers have been cleared to return to the buildings at the company’s Menlo Park, CA headquarters. The social networking giant is investigating the matter in co-ordination with local authorities. Media outlets in the Bay Area also indicated the FBI is involved in the investigation.
No injuries have been reported. A package containing an unusual substance was what triggered detection systems.
While lethal in large doses, those minimally exposed to sarin generally recover from negative reactions to it without long-lasting symptoms.
Facebook has been in the spotlight of late after several lapses in its data-use procedures and increasing calls for the company to be broken up. It is a lightning rod for politicians of all stripes, enduring criticism for its role in altering the political landscape, controlling the advertising market and misusing its users’ personal information.
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