A couple of insiders at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) recently sold some of their shares, according to regulatory filings spotted by AllFacebook. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg unloaded nearly 255,000 shares at an average price of $54.694 per share and an additional 28,400 shares at an average price of $55.1253 per share.

facebook shares

That left her with more than 10.3 million shares of the social network. Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer sold 25,000 shares of Facebook at an average price of $54.69 per share, which left him with nearly 358,000 shares of the company.

Facebook insiders sell ahead of earnings

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) released its December quarter earnings results on Wednesday, and Sandberg’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicates that she sold her shares on Jan. 28, the day before the earnings came out. Schroepfer’s filing shows that he sold his shares on Jan. 27.

Both of these executives’ sales were part of a pre-arranged trading plan, which enables them to plan to sell shares at a certain price in the future in order to protect themselves from being accused of insider trading. Of course if they had waited until after Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s earnings results to come out, they would have made a lot more money as the value of the social network’s stock shot up over $60 a share after the positive results were announced.

Executives have been selling Facebook shares

It comes as no surprise that these executives’ trading plans may have been triggered by the rise in share price, as over the last several months, they have gradually been unloading shares at higher and higher prices. Sandberg sold some shares last year when Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) finally recovered to its initial public offering price. Then in November, she sold more shares at a price of around $47 per share. Selling at $55 seems a logical step.

Schroepfer also sold some of his shares at around $47 per share in December.