On May 14, people around the world will take to Facebook to wish a happy birthday to the man who made Facebook a reality: Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire when Facebook went public just four days after his 28th birthday, is one of the most successful college dropouts of all time. And despite having to testify in front of Congress in April, after it was disclosed that political data firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to the private information of 87 million Facebook users, the founder of Facebook managed to come out on top.
In celebration of the hoodie-loving CEO’s 34th birthday, click through to read more about how Zuckerberg became one of the world’s richest billionaires.
Mark Zuckerberg Net Worth: $71.8B
Forbes named Mark Zuckerberg the richest U.S. entrepreneur under 40 in 2017. At the time, Zuckerberg’s net worth was $71 billion — $57.4 billion more than the runner-up, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Zuckerberg’s net worth jumped to $71.8 billion following his appearance in front of Congress, after hitting a year low of $62.2 billion in late March after the disclosure of the Facebook privacy controversy, according to Bloomberg data.
Zuckerberg holds the titles co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook. When Facebook went public in May 2012, it was the third-largest initial public offering in U.S. history. It’s now the fourth-largest, with Alibaba’s IPO knocking it down a spot. The company’s shares were priced at $38 each, valuing Facebook at $104 billion. Zuckerberg owned more than 503 million shares and options when the company went public, which boosted his share of the company to $16.9 billion, Forbes reported.
In 2016, Zuckerberg began to sell some of his Facebook stock. As of April 2017, Zuckerberg owned 462.3 million shares, Money reported. A Facebook share is now worth more than $174, as of April.
Facebook Privacy Controversy
In March 2018, several media outlets including The New York Times and The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm that worked on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, obtained the data of 50 million Facebook users and secretly kept it. In early April, Facebook disclosed in a blog post that they believe the private data shared with Cambridge Analytica actually could have affected 87 million users.
In the blog post, Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer at Facebook, outlined nine ways the company was working to better protect user information, including limiting the types of information that can be accessed by third-party apps. Despite the reassurances, Facebook stock plummeted nearly 10 percent. In early April, Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress about his company’s mishandling of the personal data. His two-day apology tour ended up being a valuable appearance — it led Facebook stock to rise 3 percent.
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Facebook History and Worth
Facebook’s public value stood at more than $479 billion as of early April. According to CNN Money, that number could someday reach as high as $1 trillion.
Founded in 2004, the social platform was originally known as thefacebook.com and was intended as a social directory for Harvard students. According to The Guardian, over half of Harvard’s undergraduate class signed up with thefacebook.com within its first month. By the end of 2005, the social network had expanded worldwide.
Facebook’s headquarters are based in Menlo Park, Calif., about 30 miles south of San Francisco. According to Statista, Facebook had more than 25,000 full-time employees as of December 2017. The social media site boasts a staggering 2.2 billion monthly active users, and 85 percent of mobile device owners have the Facebook app — which translates to 1.7 billion Facebook downloads of the app.
How Facebook Makes Money
Most people enjoy Facebook for free, which has led some to wonder how Facebook makes money. Its primary source of income is through Facebook ads. Mobile ad revenue is particularly lucrative; it makes up 80 percent of total advertising revenue, according to CNN Tech.
Under Zuckerberg’s Facebook leadership, the company has grown into much more than a social media website. The company also owns Messenger, a chat app with 1.2 billion monthly users, according to Statista. Additionally, Facebook owns messenger app WhatsApp — which has 1.5 billion active users, according to TechCrunch — and technology company Oculus, which makes the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift.
In April 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion. As of September 2017, the app had more than 800 million monthly active users. According to the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg tried to buy photo- and video-sharing app Snapchat for $3 billion in 2013 but was turned down. Since then, several Snapchat-like features have been rolled out on Instagram.
Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Salary: $1
In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly earned about $770,000 from his Facebook salary and bonuses, according to Forbes. The following year, he slashed his annual salary to $1. Making such a move means Zuckerberg’s financial standing depends on Facebook’s success.
While the billionaire entrepreneur isn’t earning a salary for his day job, Facebook pays for his expenses, including security and chartered flights for himself and his guests. Such expenses cost the company upward of $653,000 in 2013.
Mark Zuckerberg Philanthropy
Mark Zuckerberg possesses more wealth than most people will ever see. Rather than keep his money to himself, however, he plans to give much of it away.
In 2010, Zuckerberg signed The Giving Pledge. The brainchild of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, The Giving Pledge calls for wealthy people to give most of their money to charitable causes.
In November 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, had their first child, Max. Zuckerberg reiterated his philanthropic intentions in a letter to his daughter. In the letter, the couple introduced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which focuses on causes like personalized learning, curing disease and connecting people.
In August 2017, the couple announced that they had welcomed their second daughter, August.
Click through to read more about rich people like Zuckerberg who live like the average Joe.
Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.