He’s had a movie based on his success in founding Facebook and is one of the richest men in the world, so what’s next for Mark Zuckerberg?
Who is Mark Zuckerberg?
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is the multi-billion-dollar brainchild of the 35-year-old, that he created out of his college dorm room at Harvard University almost 16 years ago. Born in New York, Mark Zuckerberg had an interest in computers from a young age and created a messaging program when he was 12 years old called “Zucknet.” Before he graduated high school, he was reportedly offered jobs at companies like AOL (NYSE: AOL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), but he declined. After he dropped out of Harvard University, he focused on the platform and eager not to sell out, he turned down multiple offers from companies including Yahoo.
What has been his involvement in Facebook’s growth?
The ‘dorm room idea’ led Zuckerberg to be worth over $80 billion. Facebook became the first online platform of its kind to have one billion monthly active users and, by the end of 2018, that number grew to 2.32 billion. Over the years, the CEO has acquired companies including Instagram, Oculus Rift, and WhatsApp, which operate as independent entities under the Facebook umbrella. In 2020, Zuckerberg is already $5 billion richer, with average daily earnings of $500 million.
Were there times when he affected the company’s stock price?
Zuckerberg faced his first big complication not long after Facebook’s creation. Fellow students at Harvard claimed he stole their idea and insisted that he paid for their business losses as restitution. While Zuckerberg maintained that the ideas were based on two different types of social networks, an initial settlement of $65 million was reached between the two parties.
By 2012, the public was offered its first piece of the stock at $38 a share. Fast forward to July 6, 2016, the stock closed at a record of $203.23. This pushed the Facebook founder to become the world’s third-richest person, behind other tech giants Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Just weeks later, an earnings report revealed slowing user growth and shares dropped by 19%. Almost $16 billion was wiped from Zuckerberg’s business in just one day.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in 2018, which revealed that the firm wrongly obtained data from tens of millions of Facebook users. That year also saw the social platform scrutinized, with reports it was used to incite genocide against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar by the country’s military officials. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook a record $5 billion over violating user privacy. Interestingly, Facebook’s stock value increased after receiving the fine by 1.8%, closing at around $205.
Should he still be there? What does the future hold?
Mark Zuckerberg owns around 28.2% of Facebook and controls around 60% of the votes in the company, which means he can decide and do what he wants. One of the most recent decisions has been to allow political advertising, drawing huge amounts of criticism as the social media platform do not fact check political ads which is a concern leading into the 2020 election. But this move could pump a lot of money into the company as other social media giant’s Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) have banned political ads, which has been in the spotlight after recent announcements.
At a recent earnings call, he spoke of Facebook Dating, saying it is doing “quite well” in the U.S. While the video-on-demand service, Facebook Watch, that launched two years ago, was flagged as growing quickly. Facebook is also experimenting with augmented and virtual reality, with smart glasses and an Oculus VR platform being tested. However, there is still no word as to when it will be released. It is up to the users of Facebook to decide if Mark Zuckerberg deserves his seat on the Facebook throne, but if the stock market is anything to go by then he’s keeping the company profitable, surging over 50% last year.
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Written by Alsha Coppolina.