If you’ve ever engaged with social media, there’s a strong chance you’re familiar with Facebook. The individual responsible for co-founding this platform in 2004, which has since been rebranded as Meta, is none other than Mark Zuckerberg.
This self-educated computer programmer currently holds the position of CEO at this tech powerhouse. The social media giant has 2.74 billion monthly active users.
As of September 2023, Zuckerberg’s net worth is estimated at $108 billion, making him the 10th richest person in the world. At the beginning of 2022, Zuckerberg was worth $125 billion.
Early life, Family
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg Born on May 14, 1984, in White Plains, New York, he displayed a keen interest in computers from a young age. He began learning the BASIC programming language at a local college and, impressively, by the age of 12, he had already developed an instant messaging application that his father utilized in his office.
Zuckerberg initially enrolled at Harvard University but made the decision to drop out during his second year to focus on the development of Facebook. Facebook emerged from two earlier platforms he had created, namely FaceMash and HarvardConnection.com.
The former was a website that ranked Harvard students based on their attractiveness, while the latter served as an early online social networking platform.
In 2004, initiated “The Facebook” alongside a group of friends from his dorm room and made the decision to leave school in 2005, following his second year, in order to dedicate his full attention to the social network.
Collaborating with Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz, he set out to establish a social networking platform initially tailored exclusively for Harvard students. Nevertheless, the platform swiftly broadened its reach to include additional colleges and universities, experiencing rapid growth.
During Facebook’s nascent stages, Zuckerberg didn’t exhibit the polished image he does today. In fact, he once possessed business cards that bore the phrase, “I’m CEO, B—-.”
Remarkably, Zuckerberg’s company secured its Series A round of funding, totaling $12.7 million, while he was still barely of legal drinking age.
Lawsuit Against Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg faced a lawsuit from the credited founders of HarvardConnection.com, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, who believed he had appropriated intellectual property from their website.
This dispute was eventually resolved through a multimillion-dollar settlement comprising both cash and stock options in 2008. Despite an attempt by the Winklevoss twins to revive the lawsuit in 2011, the courts did not allow them to proceed.
Person of the Year
In 2010, Time magazine bestowed upon Zuckerberg the title of Person of the Year.
Zuckerberg received this accolade “For connecting over half a billion individuals and charting their social interactions, for establishing a novel method of sharing information, and for altering the way in which we all conduct our lives,” according to Time Magazine.
In the competition for this honor, he prevailed over contenders such as Julian Assange, the Tea Party, Hamid Karzai, and the Chilean Miners.
Exploring the Facebook IPO
Fast-forwarding to 2012, Facebook initiated its initial public offering (IPO), which turned out to be the most successful internet IPO in history, generating an impressive $16 billion in capital. This proved to be a momentous year for Zuckerberg and Facebook, as the company also acquired Instagram, and Zuckerberg tied the knot with his wife the day following the IPO’s debut on the market.
In December 2015, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, penned a public letter addressed to their daughter, Max. In this letter, they articulated the core objectives of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, emphasizing their commitment to advancing human potential and fostering equal opportunities for the upcoming generation of children.
They outlined their dedication to several key areas, including but not limited to the creation of resilient communities, facilitating connections among people, combating diseases, and providing personalized learning opportunities. Moreover, the letter expressed the couple’s aspiration to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares, which at the time were valued at $45 billion, throughout their lifetimes to further this noble mission.
Priscilla Chan becomes Mark Zuckerberg’s Wife
The day after Facebook went public, Zuckerberg and Chan tied the knot in a surprisingly low-key ceremony. Guests initially believed they were celebrating Chan’s medical school graduation.
Zuckerberg personally crafted Chan’s ruby ring, and the couple’s Hungarian Puli, Beast, accompanied Chan as she walked down the aisle. They had adopted Beast in 2011.
Following the wedding, the couple enjoyed a honeymoon in Italy, arriving on a private jet and staying at the luxurious Portrait Suites, where room rates began at 800 euros per night. However, they retained their down-to-earth side when it came to dining, as paparazzi spotted them enjoying a meal at McDonald’s during their overseas travels.
Despite his immense wealth, Zuckerberg has always maintained a modest style. For over a decade, he was known for wearing just a hoodie or a gray t-shirt paired with jeans. Nevertheless, in recent years, he has diversified his wardrobe.
In 2014, when he was ranked as the world’s third-richest individual, he purchased a black Volkswagen GTI with a manual transmission, which had an approximate cost of $30,000. However, he also reportedly acquired an Italian Pagani Huayra supercar around the same period.
Palo Alto Mansion
In Palo Alto, California, Zuckerberg acquired a residence spanning 5,617 square feet for $7 million in 2011. Additionally, he invested an extra $45 million to purchase the four neighboring properties and the accompanying land in order to enhance his privacy.
Zuckerberg hasn’t hesitated to invest his company’s resources either. In the 2010s, Facebook executed significant acquisitions, shelling out $1 billion for Instagram, a staggering $19 billion for WhatsApp, and $2 billion for Oculus. Today, Facebook’s suite of applications is embraced by billions of users each month.
Facebook becomes Meta
In October 2021, Facebook announced its decision to rebrand itself as (Meta), signifying its commitment to prioritize the development of the metaverse. On December 1, 2021, the company officially transitioned to trading under the new stock symbol MVRS.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, declared this shift during the company’s Oculus Connect event, stating, “Our primary focus will now be on the metaverse, rather than Facebook. As time progresses, you won’t necessarily need to use Facebook to access our other services.”
Under the Meta brand, Facebook’s main social application coexists with the company’s other products such as Horizon and WhatsApp, similar to how Google operates within the Alphabet conglomerate.
However, in February 2022, Meta encountered a noteworthy milestone, albeit an unfavorable one: Facebook witnessed a decline in its user base for the first time in its history, leading to a sharp drop in the company’s stock value.
In June 2022, Sheryl Sandberg, who had served as Zuckerberg’s trusted second-in-command for a lengthy period, declared her departure from the company. On Facebook, she expressed, “After fourteen years, the moment has come for me to embark on the next phase of my life.
Meta Stock Buybacks
In February 2023, Meta announced a $40 billion stock repurchase program aimed at satisfying shareholders amid the company’s stagnant business performance and revenue growth. The announcement of this buyback initiative led to a 23% surge in Meta’s stock price, resulting in a remarkable one-day increase of approximately $12 billion in Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth.
Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are spending $3 billion in an attempt to end, cure or manage all disease by the year 2100.
In January 2019, Mark Zuckerberg purchased $59 million worth of waterfront property on Lake Tahoe in California.
Facebook (now Meta) co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has had an incredible journey from his early days as a self-taught computer programmer to becoming one of the richest people in the world.
Along the way, he became familiar with the law, changed relationships, and began philanthropy through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. While Zuckerberg’s fortunes changed and his company grew, his impact on the tech industry and business remained uncertain.