Facebook Then and Now: Mark Zuckerbergs Story

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Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world. Facebook is such a popular social network that it has 1 billion active users. Many people know about Facebook, but not everyone knows the website’s history.

Zuckerberg’s Early Childhood

Mark Zuckerberg was born on May 14th, 1984. His father is a dentist and his mother is a psychiatrist. He grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York with three sisters.

He was ten when he received his first computer, a Quantex 486DX. His father taught him BASIC programming which Zuckerberg used to make his own messenger named “ZuckNet”. This program was used in his father’s dentist office.

In high school, Zuckerberg created a music program called Synapse that could create playlists based on listener preferences. Several companies had an interest in the technology but Zuckerberg turned them down.

The Beginnings of Facebook

It was at Harvard he met with Divya Narendra, a student interested in creating a social network strictly for students. Narendra worked with partners Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss on the project named Harvard Connection (eventually ConnectU). Members would post photos, interests, personal information, and more. Zuckerberg was tasked with writing the source code.

His meeting with Narendra and the Winklevoss brothers inspired Zuckerberg to create his own social network. He registered the domain name TheFacebook.com on February, 4th, 2004. At the time, it only worked at Harvard although it was soon opened to Columbia University, Stanford, and Yale.

The popularity of Zuckerberg’s website prompted him to open registration to all students as long as they had a school email address. Any profiles without a real picture were deleted.

Moving Beyond Campus

When it was finally opened to the public, Facebook’s user base grew exponentially. When the network hit 50 million users companies offered Zuckerberg large sums for the program. Yahoo! presented $900 million, but Zuckerberg declined.

Facebook Scandals

Narendra and the Winklevoss twins accused Zuckerberg of taking their idea. They claimed he took the source code he was hired to use on HarvardConnection.com and used it for his own website. They complained to the Harvard Crimson newspaper and an article was published with the story.

Narendra and the Winklevoss brothers filed several lawsuits and eventually, Zuckerberg paid $45 million as a settlement with $20 million in cash and the rest in Facebook stock.

Advertising on Facebook

So how does Facebook make money? Most revenue comes from ads on the website pages. About 85% of profits are earned through these advertisements. The rest comes from virtual products such as digital currency for games played on Facebook.

In early 2013, Facebook started testing a paid private messaging system. Most people not on your friend list can be messaged for $1.00, although certain users (such as Mark Zuckerberg himself) cost upwards of $100.

Facebook and Zuckerberg Now

Instagram, a photo sharing social media app, was purchased for $1 billion in combined cash and stock. The virtual reality hardware Oculus Rift was bought in 2014 for $2 billion with further bonuses if future targets are reached. Zuckerberg purchased WhatsApp, an instant messaging app, for an astounding $22 billion.

Facebook’s popularity landed Mark Zuckerberg a winning spot as TIME’s Person of the Year in 2010. He was the youngest billionaire on Forbes list and is one of the richest people in America.

He lives in Palo Alto with his wife Priscilla Chan and two daughters, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg and August Chan Zuckerberg. In an effort to support their daughters’ future, the couple created Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and made a pledge to donate 99% of Facebook shares to make the world a better place.

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