Mark Zuckerberg

DEFINITION of 'Mark Zuckerberg'

Self-taught computer programmer and self-made multibillionaire Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook, which he founded in his dorm room in 2004 along with Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin. Zuckerberg was born May 14, 1984, in White Plains, New York. He showed an early affinity for computers; when he was 11, he took a graduate-level computer course, and when he was 12, he developed an instant-messaging application that his dad used in his dental office.

BREAKING DOWN 'Mark Zuckerberg'

Zuckerberg attended Harvard but dropped out after his sophomore year to focus on developing Facebook. The site grew out of two earlier ventures: Facemash.com, a website for ranking the attractiveness of other Harvard students, and HarvardConnection.com. In 2004, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra sued him for allegedly stealing intellectual property from HarvardConnection.com. They reached a multimillion dollar settlement of cash and stock options in 2008. The Winklevosses tried to reopen the lawsuit in 2011, but the court denied their request.

In mid-2005, Facebook raised $12.7 million in venture capital and expanded access to hundreds of universities and high schools, and in the fall of 2006, Facebook opened to the general public. Yahoo offered to buy the company for $1 billion that year, but Zuckerberg refused.

Time magazine named him person of the year for 2010.

In 2012, Facebook went public and became the most successful Internet IPO in history when it raised $16 billion. That same year, Facebook bought the photo-sharing site Instagram, and Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan in a surprise wedding the day after the IPO.

In addition to his Facebook success, Zuckerberg is known for his philanthropy. He made a $100,000 donation to the distressed Newark public school system in 2010 and has pledged to donate 50% of his wealth to charity over his lifetime through the Giving Pledge. In 2014, he ranked No. 21 on Forbes’ billionaires list with an estimated net worth of $29.4 billion.