Mark Elliot Zuckerberg

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Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur. A Harvard student, he is credited with developing and launching[2] the online social networking website Facebook with the help of fellow Harvard student and computer science major Andrew McCollum as well as roommates Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. He now serves as Facebook's CEO. In 2008, [3] Forbes Magazine declared him "[the] youngest billionaire on earth and possibly the youngest self-made billionaire ever," with a theoretical net worth of $1.5 billion USD.[4][5] However, the validity of this label has also been met with controversy.[6]
Early life

Mark Zuckerberg was born to a Jewish-American family and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy where he was a resident of Browning House and was recruited by both Microsoft and AOL in his senior year due to a hacking project. Instead, he opted to attend Harvard University.[7]

College years

Zuckerberg attended Harvard University and was enrolled in the class of 2006. He was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. At Harvard, Zuckerberg continued creating his projects. An early project, Coursematch, allowed students to view lists of other students enrolled in the same classes. A later project,, was a Harvard-specific image rating site similar to Hot or Not. A version of the site was online for four hours before Zuckerberg's Internet access was revoked by administration officials. The computer services department brought Zuckerberg before the Harvard University Administrative Board, where he was charged with breaching computer security and violating rules on Internet privacy and intellectual property.[1].


Main article: Facebook


Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room on February 15, 2004. It quickly became a success at Harvard and more than two-thirds of the school's students signed up in the first two weeks. Zuckerberg then decided to spread Facebook to other schools and enlisted the help of roommate Dustin Moskovitz. They first spread it to Stanford, Columbia and Yale and then to other Ivy League colleges and schools in the Boston area. By the beginning of the summer, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz had released Facebook at almost thirty five schools.

Moving to California

Zuckerberg moved to Palo Alto, California with Moskovitz, his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, and some friends during the summer of 2004. According to Zuckerberg, the group planned to return to Harvard in the fall but eventually decided to remain in California, taking a leave of absence. To date, he has not returned as a student to the college. They leased a small house which served as their first office. Over the summer, Zuckerberg met Peter Thiel who invested in the company. They got their first office on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto a few months later. Today, the company has seven buildings in downtown Palo Alto, forming what Zuckerberg calls an "urban campus".

News Feed

On September 5, 2006, Facebook launched News Feed, a list of what friends were doing on the site. Zuckerberg became the target of criticism as some saw News Feed as unnecessary and a tool for cyberstalking. Three days later, Zuckerberg responded in an open letter to the Facebook community, apologizing for the sudden unwelcome feature, providing new privacy options, but ultimately defending the feature and his belief in free information flow. Zuckerberg contended that the feature was a good asset to use among friends, and the privacy settings allow for information to be blocked from users who are not friends with the person. Ironically, however, Facebook's "Code of Conduct" states that "no user shall engage in any predatory or stalking conduct", essentially a direct contradiction of the now present inability to remove the mini-feed.[8]

Facebook ads and Beacon controversy

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On November 6, 2007, Zuckerberg announced a new social advertising system at an event in New York. The new program, called Beacon, enabled people to share information with their Facebook friends based on their browsing activities on other sites. An eBay seller, for instance, letting friends know automatically what they have for sale via the Facebook news feed as they list items.

The program quickly came under heavy privacy concerns from both privacy groups and individual users. On December 1, 2007 Facebook's credibility in regard to the Beacon program was further tested when it was reported that the New York Times "essentially accuses" Mark Zuckerberg of lying [9] to the paper and leaving Coca-Cola with a similar impression. Coca-Cola later corrected this perception, stating the company had never even spoken with Facebook about the Beacon program.[citation needed]

On December 5, 2007, Zuckerberg wrote a blog post on Facebook, [10] apologizing for Beacon and offering an easier way for users to opt out of the service.

[edit] ConnectU controversy

Zuckerberg's Harvard classmates, Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss, and Tyler Winklevoss, claim they hired him to finish the code on their website, ConnectU and that he stole their idea, design, business plan, and source code. A lawsuit was filed in 2004 claiming a breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, in addition to other claims. Zuckerberg claims there was no contract and that he was not a partner. They are seeking monetary damages.[11] ConnectU has maintained that it is not their intention to shut down Facebook.

Since its original filing in Massachusetts, the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice on March 28, 2007, but was never ruled on. It was refiled soon thereafter in U.S. District Court in Boston, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 25, 2007.[12] At the hearing the judge told ConnectU that parts of their complaint were not sufficiently pled and gave them the ability to refile an amended complaint.

On 25 June 2008 Facebook agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of cash and stock to settle the legal battle with ConnectU. The terms of the deal were confidential and the Winklevosses, Narendra and ConnectU agreed to make no future claims.[13]

[edit] Microsoft investment in Facebook

On Oct. 24, 2007, Facebook Inc. sold a 1.6% stake to Microsoft Corp. for $240 million, spurning a competing offer from online search leader Google Inc.[14]

[edit] Harvard alumni magazine scandal

In November 2007, confidential court documents, Web sites, and letters were posted on the website of Harvard alumni magazine 02138. They included Zuckerberg's social security number, his parents' home address and his girlfriend's address. Facebook filed suit to get the documents taken down, but the Boston judge Douglas Woodlock ruled in favor of 02138.[15]

[edit] Facebook origins controversy

E-mails verified by the New York Times denote that Zuckerberg might have taken many ideas for Facebook from Aaron J. Greenspan's houseSYSTEM website.[16]

[edit] Personal life

In an interview with 60 Minutes dated January 2008, Zuckerberg has stated that he lives very modestly, not purchasing luxuries and residing in a "one bedroom apartment with a mattress on the floor" in San Francisco, California.[17] However, he does travel in a luxury Audi A8 with a personal driver.[2]

Along with other top Facebook executives, Zuckerberg has also sold portions of his Facebook stock for an undisclosed sum.[18]

[edit] Forbes mention

In March 2008, ranked Zuckerberg as #785 on its rich list, citing his net worth as $1.5 billion. The figure is based on a valuation of $5 billion, even though Microsoft's 1.6% $246 million investment is based on a valuation of $15 billion. Zuckerberg's worth is derived from his 30% stake in the company based on a value of $5 billion. [19] Analysts have questioned Forbes, citing the illiquidity of Zuckerberg's wealth. [6]

[edit] References

1. ^ Mark Zuckerberg -
2. ^ "Poking Facebook".
3. ^ The World's Billionaires -
4. ^ World's Billionaires -
5. ^ In Pictures: Youngest Billionaires -
6. ^ a b ABC News: World's Youngest Billionaire: Here to Stay?
7. ^ "Hacker. Dropout. CEO.".
8. ^ "Facebook Code of Conduct".
9. ^ NYT: Facebook's Zuckerberg Misled Us; Coke: Ditto - Silicon Alley Insider
10. ^ The Facebook Blog | Facebook
11. ^ The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Lawsuit Threatens To Close Facebook
12. ^ PC World - Facebook Tries to Fend Off Copyright-Infringement Claim
13. ^ U.S. judge backs Facebook deal in suit over origins | Technology | Reuters
14. ^ Microsoft invests $240 million in Facebook - U.S. business -
15. ^ article about 02138
16. ^ Who Founded Facebook? A New Claim Emerges - New York Times
17. ^ YouTube - Facebook on 60 Minutes 01-13-08 (Part 1)
18. ^ "Facebook Stock For Sale". BusinessWeek. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
19. ^ #785 Mark Zuckerberg -

[edit] External links
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Mark Zuckerberg

* Did a Dorm Room Theft Launch an Online Empire? Rolling Stone
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* Mark Zuckerberg talks about online personas at The Commonwealth Club video
* Microsoft/Facebook Deal
* Facebook, Friendliness and Money Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Stanford University, October 2005

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