One of the world's richest men, Facebook (FB - Get Report) chief Mark Zuckerberg has been a polarizing figure over the last decade. On the one hand, he created one of the most successful U.S. companies in recent history. Thanks to the simplicity of the idea behind Facebook, it became accessible to a vast portion of the world's population, giving his company power over an enormous amount of personal data. On the other hand, there's a great deal of responsibility that comes with that power, and critics question how well the company is living up to that responsibility. So how much is the founder and CEO of Facebook worth?
Mark Zuckerberg's Net Worth
According to Forbes' real time net worth tracker, Mark Zuckerberg is worth $76 billion as of July 19, 2019. But his fortune is largely tied to his shares in Facebook.
Born in White Plains New York in 1984, Zuckerberg liked computers early on. His rise began in college. One might say he had a bit of a head start on behalf of his parents. They hired a private computer tutor to teach him more about his interest. Some of his early tech moves included making games and messaging systems out of Atari (PONGF) software. At the age of 19, he co-found Facebook (originally called "the facebook") while attending Harvard.
How Did Zuckerberg Make His Fortune?
Zuckerberg's wealth is very much in direct correlation with the ups and downs of Facebook. The story of Facebook's rise is fairly well known. He was originally approached by others at Harvard (including the Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss) to work on a social media site. Zuckerberg's Facebook took off like wildfire, and he and his co-founders went along for the ride. He didn't finish Harvard, instead choosing to focus entirely on the new venture. According to Business Insider, Zuckerberg had made $1 million by the age of 22. It was when the company went public that he truly amassed the bulk of his net worth.
By 2004, Facebook had a million users, and by 2005, the company had drastically improved its standing thanks to a $12.5 million venture capital investment.
Eventually, the site spread to many colleges and high schools, growing the user base quickly. This in turn helped bring in advertisers. By 2012 -- years following lawsuits by others who said they were co-founders of Facebook -- the company had its initial public offering. That $16 billion IPO was a pivotal moment for Zuckberg, and pushed him into the ranks of the world's richest, even if the shares closed their first day of trading at a lackluster $38.23.
Following the rise in wealth -- Facebook shares in July 2019 were trading around $200 -- Zuckerberg has been again and again pulled into controversy -- in the ongoing criticism over inaccurate news and fake accounts on Facebook that came to light around the 2016 presidential election, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the probes and accusations by various governmental regulatory bodies and media outlets. Zuckerberg has made statements saying that he would work to improve the oversight and reputation of Facebook's handling of user data.
And Facebook's stock did suffer for a time, directly impacting Zuckerberg's net worth, which is tied mainly to his shares in the company. But the seas have since calmed and the stock has rebounded. It's also steadily rose since the IPO.
How Does Zuckerberg Spend His Money?
Zuckerberg, who is married to a physician named Priscilla Chan, has expressed interest in helping support research to cure diseases. His philanthropy has included a pledge by him and his wife to give away a large portion of his fortune by the time of his death. One of the couple's philanthropic goals is to donate billions to an initiative to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century. This is known as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Real Estate Investments
Zuckerberg is also building a large real estate portfolio. Most recently, he purchased a compound in Lake Tahoe for $59 million, according to Variety. The purchase was reportedly done through a company entity to keep private. The original property along the water was supposedly bought for $22 million, after which he purchased adjacent land for $37 million. Zuckerberg also likes privacy and seclusion. He has famously purchased properties around his Palo Alto home, and then hoped to bulldoze some structures. He faced criticism in Hawaii when he attempted to build a wall around his property there.
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