Who Is Mark Zuckerberg?

Mark Zuckerberg is a self-taught computer programmer and co-founder, chair, and chief executive officer of Meta (META), formerly known as Facebook. Originally named Facemash, Zuckerberg founded the social networking site in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004 along with Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin.

According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg's net worth as of June 10, 2022, was about $68.2 billion.

Key Takeaways

  • Mark Zuckerberg is a self-taught computer programmer and the co-founder, chair, and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook).
  • According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg's net worth as of June 10, 2022, was about $68.2 billion.
  • Facebook has 2.93 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2022, making it the biggest social network in the world.
  • In 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, founded the Chan Zuckerberg foundation with the goal of delivering "...personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities."
  • In April 2018, Zuckerberg testified on Capitol Hill about Facebook's use of users' information, including the sharing of 87 million users' information to Cambridge Analytica.
Mark Zuckerberg

Investopedia / Alison Czinkota

Early Life and Education

On May 14, 1984, Mark Zuckerberg was born in White Plains, New York. As a child, he showed an affinity for computers. He learned the BASIC programming language at a nearby college, and at the age of 12, he developed an instant-messaging application that his father used in his office.

Zuckerberg attended Harvard University but dropped out after his sophomore year to focus on developing Facebook. The site grew out of two earlier ventures: FaceMash, a website for ranking the attractiveness of other Harvard students, and HarvardConnection.com, an online social networking platform.

In 2004, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, the three credited founders of HarvardConnection.com, sued Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing intellectual property from the website. They reached a multi-million dollar settlement of cash and stock options in 2008. The Winklevoss twins tried to reopen the lawsuit in 2011, but the court denied their request.

Notable Accomplishments

Facebook IPO and Acquisitions

In mid-2005, Facebook raised $12.7 million in venture capital and expanded access to hundreds of universities and high schools. One year later, the social network opened to the general public, and Yahoo! offered $1 billion to buy the company—a bid that was swiftly rejected by Zuckerberg.

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

Meta has acquired dozens of companies over the years, including Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, WhatsApp for $22 billion in cash and shares in 2014, Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, and several other companies ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) to identification platforms.

Wealth and Philanthropy

Zuckerberg has made headlines for his philanthropy, including his 2010 donation of $100 million to help schools in Newark, N.J. In 2014, the publication Philanthropy ranked Zuckerberg and Chan the most generous American donors of the previous year, after they donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in Mountain View, Calif.

On Dec. 1, 2015, Zuckerberg and Chan published a letter to their daughter Max, in which they announced the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative "to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation."

In the post, Zuckerberg and Chan said the "initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities" and that "we will give 99% of our Facebook shares—currently about $45 billion—during our lives to advance this mission."

Controversy and Cambridge Analytica

Meta has been accused, nearly since its inception, of collecting and selling the personal data, posts, and instant messages of its users. These accusations mounted shortly after the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, with some alleging that U.S. voters had been under the influence of targeted ads financed by Russia. 

In March 2018, media outlets including The New York Times and The Observer reported that U.K.-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had paid an outside researcher to collect data on 50 million Facebook users without their permission. The New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica's goal was to use the data for its trademark "psychographic modeling," with the aim of "reading voters' minds" and potentially influencing the outcome of elections. 

$25 Billion

The estimated ad revenue of Instagram in 2021.

In April 2018, Facebook disclosed that the information of 87 million users had been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, and not the 50 million as earlier reported.

Later that month, Zuckerberg appeared on Capitol Hill to testify before House and Senate committees about Facebook's use of consumer data. In prepared remarks before the Senate, Zuckerberg noted that Facebook had been beneficial in connecting people during the #MeToo movement and various disasters.

The statement went on to say that Zuckerberg and Facebook heard about Cambridge Analytica's involvement from the media, just like everyone else. Zuckerberg also outlined actions that Facebook intended to undertake to prevent future incidents of this nature, including "safeguarding our platform," "investigating other apps," and "building better controls."

How Does Facebook Make Money?

Facebook makes the bulk of its money through ads. The company sells ad space on its many platforms. These platforms include Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Facebook (Meta) also makes money by allowing users to pay to promote their pages/posts on the various platforms, which is also a form of advertising.

What Is Mark Zuckerberg's Net Worth?

As of June 10, 2022, Mark Zuckerberg's net worth is $68.2 billion. He earned his wealth as the founder and largest shareholder of Meta (formerly Facebook).

Does Mark Zuckerberg Make $1 a Year?

Technically, Mark Zuckerberg makes a salary of $1 a year at Facebook. His wealth, however, is tied up in the shares of Meta (formerly Facebook), of which he is the largest shareholder, making him one of the richest men in the world.

The Bottom Line

Zuckerberg started Facebook from his dorm room, turning it into one of the largest companies in the world. Through Facebook and its many acquisitions, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg controls the majority of the way consumers consume content and interact with one another.

Article Sources
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  1. Bloomberg. "Mark Zuckerberg."

  2. Statista. "Number of Monthly Active Facebook Users Worldwide as of 1st Quarter 2022."

  3. George Beahm. "Mark Zuckerberg: In His Own Words." Agate Publishing, 2018.

  4. United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. "Facebook v. ConnectU, Inc.," Pages 4902-4912.

  5. Crunchbase. "Series A - Meta."

  6. Inc. "Peter Thiel Talks About the Day Mark Zuckerberg Turned Down Yahoo's $1 Billion."

  7. History. "Facebook Raises $16 Billion in Largest Tech IPO in U.S. History."

  8. Meta. "Facebook to Acquire Oculus."

  9. Meta. "Facebook to Acquire Instagram."

  10. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Form 8-K - October 4, 2014."

  11. Cision PR Newswire. "New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker Join With Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Advance a National Model for Improving Public Schools."

  12. Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. "Letter to Max."

  13. Statista. "Instagram - Statistics & Facts."

  14. Meta. "An Update on Our Plans to Restrict Data Access on Facebook."

  15. U.S. Senate. "Hearing Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the United Sates Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation - April 10, 2018 - Testimony of Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook," Pages 1-3.

  16. Business Insider. "Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Why He Only Makes $1 a Year."

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