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Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO

Positon: Facebook CEO

Industry: Internet

Citizenship: USA

Date of Birth: 05.14.1984

Mark Zuckerberg can be considered the father of social media as we know it. Starting off in 2004 with a small network for Harvard students, Zuckerberg became a millionaire in just two years and eventually an owner of a huge empire, which included Instagram and WhatsApp.

Timeline

2003 – At the age of 19, Zuckerberg first approached an idea of creating a social network. While suffering from insomnia in Harvard, he hacked the university database and stole a number of profile pictures. Later he built an algorithm called FaceMash which matched two random pictures of students and created a poll asking who was hotter. The program was so popular that the server eventually crashed, and Zuckerberg faced disciplinary action for his hack.

2004 – Zuckerberg registered the domain name TheFacebook.com, which later became Facebook.com. Initially, the project was launched as a social media network for Harvard students. However, when he and his friend Eduardo Saverin found out that the number of users had surpassed 4,000, they realised the network might be expanded to other universities.

2005 – 0'>Facebook became available for all universities in the US. As interest in the new social network grew at an exponential rate, Zuckerberg opened registration for everyone older than 13 a year later.

2007 – Microsoft purchased a 1.6 per cent share of Facebook for $240m, giving Facebook a total implied value of around $15bn. Microsoft's purchase included rights to place international advertisements.

2009 – After several years of success, a day of reckoning came. Zuckerberg found himself in the eye of a storm, with the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra claiming he had stolen their idea of a social network for students. After a prolonged legal battle, Zuckerberg agreed to pay a $65m settlement to his former Harvard neighbours, $20m of which was in cash and the rest in Facebook shares.

2010 – Zuckerberg, already a billionaire, was named the Person of the Year 2010 by Time magazine, beating Lady Gaga, James Cameron and Julian Assange.

2012 – Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO), which is considered one of the biggest in internet history, with its peak market capitalisation surpassing $104bn. Also, in 2012, Facebook bought Instagram from Kevin Systrom, who left the company in 2018. Just a year later, Facebook acquired messenger service, WhatsApp, and the company became a fully fledged social media corporation.

2019 – Zuckerberg fell several places in Forbes' 2019 billionaire's list, with his net worth dropping from $71bn to $62.3bn following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and further investigation. However, he still remained the eighth-richest person in the world.

Interesting facts

  • Zuckerberg’s first invention was… a messenger. In his teens, the young genius used Atari BASIC to create ZuckNet – an instant messenger to keep in touch with his father, dentist Edward Zuckerberg. The program was a success, as the messenger was then used in his father’s hospital to connect the reception with his office.

  • ZuckNet did not seem to satisfy young Mark. He also created a program called Synapse, which was an early prototype of modern music streaming services. Synapse studied the preferences of a listener and generated playlists based on his favourite tracks.

  • The screenplay of The Social Network, a movie portraying the founding of Facebook, was written by Aaron Sorkin. He also created The West Wing, a political drama which is one of Zuckerberg's favourite series.

Facebook has a blue logo and a moderate colour scheme because its creator is colour blind.

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