Mark Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American programmer, Internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the chairman, chief executive, and co-founder of the social networking website Facebook. His net worth is estimated to be $51.8 billion as of 2016.
Together with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, he launched Facebook from Harvard’s dormitory rooms.The group then introduced Facebook to other campuses. Facebook expanded rapidly, with one billion users by 2012. Zuckerberg was involved in various legal disputes that were initiated by others in the group, who claimed a share of the company based upon their involvement during the development phase of Facebook.
In December 2012, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced they would give the majority of their wealth over the course of their lives to “advancing human potential and promoting equality” in the spirit of The Giving Pledge. On December 1, 2015, they announced they would give 99% of their Facebook shares (worth about $45 billion at the time) to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year distinction.
By the time he began classes at Harvard, Zuckerberg had already achieved a “reputation as a programming prodigy”, notes Vargas. He studied psychology and computer science as well as belonging to Alpha Epsilon Pi and Kirkland House. In his sophomore year, he wrote a program he called CourseMatch, which allowed users to make class selection decisions based on the choices of other students and also to help them form study groups. A short time later, he created a different program he initially called Facemash that let students select the best looking person from a choice of photos. According to Zuckerberg’s roommate at the time, Arie Hasit, “he built the site for fun”. Hasit explains:
We had books called Face Books, which included the names and pictures of everyone who lived in the student dorms. At first, he built a site and placed two pictures, or pictures of two males and two females. Visitors to the site had to choose who was “hotter” and according to the votes there would be a ranking.
Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room on February 4, 2004.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.
Once at college, Zuckerberg’s Facebook started off as just a “Harvard thing” until Zuckerberg decided to spread it to other schools, enlisting the help of roommate Dustin Moskovitz. They began with Columbia, New York University, Stanford, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn, Brown, and Yale. Samyr Laine, a triple jumper representing Haiti at the 2012 Summer Olympics, shared a room with Zuckerberg during Facebook’s founding. “Mark was clearly on to great things,” said Laine, who was Facebook’s fourteenth user.
After Zuckerberg moved to Palo Alto, California with Moskovitz and some friends, they leased a small house that served as an office. Over the summer, Zuckerberg met Peter Thiel who invested in the company. They got their first office in mid-2004. According to Zuckerberg, the group planned to return to Harvard but eventually decided to remain in California.They had already turned down offers by major corporations to buy the company. In an interview in 2007, Zuckerberg explained his reasoning: “It’s not because of the amount of money. For me and my colleagues, the most important thing is that we create an open information flow for people. Having media corporations owned by conglomerates is just not an attractive idea to me.”
Zuckerberg met his future wife, fellow student Priscilla Chan, at a fraternity party during his sophomore year at Harvard. They began dating in 2003.Chan is the daughter of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees, who arrived in the U.S. after the Fall of Saigon in 1975.She was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and is a 2003 graduate of Quincy High School.
In September 2010, Zuckerberg invited Chan, by then a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, to move into his rented Palo Alto house. Zuckerberg studied Mandarin in preparation for the couple’s visit to China in December 2010.On May 19, 2012, Zuckerberg and Chan married in Zuckerberg’s backyard in an event that also celebrated her graduation from medical school. On July 31, 2015, Zuckerberg announced that he and Chan were expecting a baby girl. He said he felt confident that the risk of miscarrying was low so far into the pregnancy, after Chan had already suffered three miscarriages. On December 1, Zuckerberg announced the birth of his first child, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg (“Max”). The couple announced on their Chinese New Year video, published on February 6, 2016, that Maxima’s official Chinese name is Chen Mingyu (Chinese: 陈明宇). Zuckerberg and Chan also announced that they would give away 99% of their shares in Facebook to selected causes through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.