Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg turns 38 on May 14: Here's what you need to know

Zuckerberg has complete control over Facebook's future, thanks to his majority voting rights. And with a net worth of roughly $63 billion, 33-year-0ld Zuckerberg has joined the ranks of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet as one of the richest people on earth

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, May 13, 2022, 04:41 PM IST
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Mark Zuckerberg | AFP

The CEO of the world’s largest social network is celebrating his 36th birthday on Saturday. One of the most dynamic and recognizable CEOs in the world, Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in the world at the age of 23 in the year 2008 and has amazed the world ever since, with his entrepreneurial abilities.

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born in White Plains, New York, on May 14, 1984, the son of psychiatrist Karen (née Kempner) and dentist Edward Zuckerberg. He and his three sisters (Arielle, businesswoman Randi, and writer Donna) were raised in a Reform Jewish household in Dobbs Ferry, New York. His great-grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Austria, Germany, and Poland.

In January 2004, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "Thefacebook", originally located at thefacebook.com, in partnership with his roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

An earlier inspiration for Facebook may have come from Phillips Exeter Academy, the prep school from which Zuckerberg graduated in 2002. It published its own student directory, "The Photo Address Book", which students referred to as "The Facebook".

Such photo directories were an important part of the student social experience at many private schools. With them, students were able to list attributes such as their class years, their friends, and their telephone numbers.

Six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.

The three complained to The Harvard Crimson, and the newspaper began an investigation in response. While Zuckerberg tried to convince the editors not to run the story, Zuckerberg broke into two of the editors' email accounts. He did it based on the editors' private login data logs from TheFacebook.

Following the official launch of the Facebook social media platform, the three filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg that resulted in a settlement. The agreed settlement was for 1.2 million Facebook shares and $20 million in cash.

The Facebook CEO has grown his social network from a Harvard dorm room to nearly 2 billion users over a period of 13 years. With a stated mission to connect the world, Facebook is now working on drones and other methods of bringing internet access to unreached parts of the globe.

Zuckerberg has complete control over Facebook's future, thanks to his majority voting rights. And with a net worth of roughly $63 billion, 33-year-0ld Zuckerberg has joined the ranks of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet as one of the richest people on earth.

Personal life

Zuckerberg met his future wife, fellow Harvard student Priscilla Chan, at a frat party during his sophomore year there. They began dating in 2003. In September 2010, Chan, who was by then a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, moved into Zuckerberg's rented house in Palo Alto, California.

On May 19, 2012, they married in his backyard in an event that also celebrated her graduation from medical school. On July 31, 2015, Zuckerberg revealed that they were expecting a baby girl and that Chan had previously experienced three miscarriages.

Their daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg, was born on December 1, 2015. They announced in a Chinese New Year video that their daughter's Chinese name is Chen Mingyu. Their second daughter, August, was born in August 2017. The couple also have a Puli dog named Beast, who has over two million followers on Facebook.

Together with his wife Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg has committed to give away 99% his wealth before he dies. He's already poured millions into education efforts and has pledged billions more to initiatives like curing the world's diseases.

He is a highly controversial figure

Zuckerberg isn't without his fare share of controversy - only natural, given the enormous influence Meta, Facebook and Instagram's holding company, possesses.

Facebook (and parent company Meta Platforms) has been the subject of criticism and legal action. Criticisms include the outsize influence Facebook has on the lives and health of its users and employees, as well as Facebook's influence on the way media, specifically news, is reported and distributed.

Notable issues include Internet privacy, such as use of a widespread "like" button on third-party websites tracking users, possible indefinite records of user information, automatic facial recognition software, and its role in the workplace, including employer-employee account disclosure.

The use of Facebook can have negative psychological effects that include feelings of romantic jealousy and stress, a lack of attention, and social media addiction that in some cases is comparable to drug addiction.

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