Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an internet entrepreneur and philanthropist from America. He co-founded Facebook and serves as its current chairman and chief executive officer. A New York native, Zuckerberg studied psychology and computer science at Harvard University.
During this period, he and his college roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, launched Facebook from their dormitory. Initially meant to be for select college campuses, the site witnessed exponential growth in the following few years and became the world’s biggest social media platform.
As of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had amassed over 2.27 billion monthly active users. Zuckerberg has also been involved with several other projects, including Wirehog, a file-sharing program, and Internet.org, a conglomerate of several companies attempting to bring affordable access to selected internet services in less developed countries.
Over the course of his professional career, Zuckerberg has encountered a number of legal controversies. In April 2018, he appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to testify on Facebook’s use of personal data in relation to the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data breach. Since 2010, he has been listed among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people by ‘Time’ magazine as part of its Person of the Year issue.
In 2016, Forbes named him the 10th most powerful person in the world.
- Born on May 14, 1984, in White Plains, New York, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the four children and the only son of Karen (née Kempner) and Edward Zuckerberg. His mother is a psychiatrist while his father is a dentist.
- His three sisters are Randi, Donna, and Arielle. They grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York, in a Reform Jewish household. He is a descendant of immigrants from Germany, Poland, and Austria.
- Zuckerberg was an exemplary student. He attended Ardsley High School before transferring to Phillips Exeter Academy, in New Hampshire, in his junior year. During his time there, he earned several prizes in science and classical studies.
- He also went to the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer camp. Zuckerberg is reportedly fluent in French, Hebrew, Latin, and ancient Greek. He also served as the captain of the fencing team at his prep school.
- Zuckerberg has been creating software programs since he was in school. His father gave him some of his first lessons in programming by teaching him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s. He was later taught by software developer David Newman. One of his first programs was Zucknet, which is considered to be a precursor of AOL’s Instant Messenger.
- While Mark Zuckerberg was in high school, he landed a job at a company called Intelligent Media Group to develop a music player called Synapse Media Player. He had already garnered a reputation as a programming prodigy when he enrolled in Harvard in 2002. As part of the class of 2006, he was pursuing degrees in psychology and computer science and was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi and Kirkland House.
- During his sophomore year, he developed a program that he named Facemash, which allowed the students to pick the best-looking person from a selection of photographs.
- After being active during the weekend, Facemash was closed down by Harvard as it clogged one of its network switches and denied many students access to the internet. There were also complaints from many students about the use of their photographs without their consent. Zuckerberg eventually made a public apology.
- In January 2004, he developed the code for his new website. On 4 February, he launched “TheFacebook” from his college dormitory. At first, their service was limited only to Harvard but later Zuckerberg decided to expand it to other schools.
- In 2004, during his sophomore year, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and subsequently relocated to Silicon Valley. He, Moskovitz, and some of their friends rented a house in Palo Alto which became their office.
- By mid-2004, they had already found several investors and moved their base of operation to an actual office. However, they repeatedly thwarted attempts by major corporations to purchase their fledgling company. As Zuckerberg later stated, the mission of Facebook is to make the world open; it was never about money.
- In July 2010, Zuckerberg announced that the number of active users on the app has reached 500 million. That year, he ranked first on Vanity Fair’s list of the Top 100 “most influential people of the Information Age”. In October 2012, they reached the one billion-user milestone. In June 2017, Zuckerberg reported that Facebook has garnered two billion users.
- In August 2004, Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Adam D’Angelo, and Sean Parker founded Wirehog, a peer-to-peer file sharing service. However, compared to its biggest competitor, i2hub, it garnered much less traction and was eventually shut down.
- In May 2007, he launched Facebook Platform, an initiative that encourages third-party developers to create applications for Facebook. The present version of the Facebook Platform was introduced in 2010
- In 2012, Facebook acquired the photo and video sharing social media platform, Instagram. Two years later, the company acquired the mobile messaging app, WhatsApp.
- In August 2013, Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia, and Qualcomm launched a project called Internet.org to usher in better and more affordable access to selected internet services in under-developed and developing countries.
- Zuckerberg has met world leaders, such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the technology infrastructure in those countries. While Facebook is banned in China, the people of the country hold Zuckerberg in high regard.
- One of the earliest lawsuits against Facebook was filed by ConnectU founders Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, alleging that Zuckerberg had used their idea to create a competitive product. The case was eventually settled after Facebook agreed to transfer over 1.2 million common Facebook shares. The company also agreed to pay $20 million in cash.
- In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg was named the Person of the Year by ‘Time’ magazine.
- He was awarded the CEO of the Year accolade at the 6th annual Crunchies in 2013.
- In May 2017, several years after dropping out of Harvard, Zuckerberg received an honorary degree from the college at its 366th commencement ceremony.
- In December 2017, he earned the dubious distinction of being named the recipient of the “Misinformer of the Year” award from the progressive media outlet group, Media Matters.
- While Mark Zuckerberg was still attending Harvard, he met a biology student named Priscilla Chan at a fraternity party. They started dating sometime in 2003. Chan went on to study medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
- In September 2010, they moved in together in his rented house in Palo Alto. They married on May 19, 2012, in Zuckerberg’s backyard. The occasion also commemorated Chan’s graduation from medical school.
- Chan underwent three miscarriages before giving birth to their daughter, Maxima, in 2015. In February 2016, the couple announced Maxima’s Chinese name, Chen Mingyu. Their second daughter, August, was born in August 2017.
- In July 2009, American author Ben Mezrich published his book ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal’ through Doubleday. It was later turned into a film, the 2010 release, ‘The Social Network’. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, David Fincher served as the director, and Jesse Eisenberg portrayed Zuckerberg.
- Mark Zuckerberg grew up Jewish but later came out as an atheist. However, he has since stated that he has changed his position on the subject and now believes that religion is very important.
- There is a debate on Zuckerberg’s political affiliation. Some believe that he is a conservative while others consider him to be a liberal. Zuckerberg has donated money for education and immigration reforms. He supports the Black Lives Matter movement and instructed that the said phrase be written on the company walls.
- In December 2015, Zuckerberg and Chan set up Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability company, with the aim to “advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research, and energy”.
- In an open letter to their daughter, Maxima, Chan, and Zuckerberg revealed that they have decided to donate 99% of their Facebook shares to the initiative during their lives. They have also donated money for various other causes and services, including the battle against Ebola virus disease, an open-source personal web server called Diaspora, and Newark Public Schools.
- Like Steve Jobs before him and several other Silicon Valley CEOs, Zuckerberg receives US$1 as his annual salary.