Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14 of 1984 in White Plains, New York to Edward Zuckerberg and Karen Kempner. His family lived in Dobbs Ferry, where his father worked as a dentist, and his mother as a phyciatrist. Zuckerberg was always interested in coding, computers, video games, and Star Wars, and excelled in his studies. By the time he applied to Harvard, he was fluent in ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and French. Zuckerberg devoted his life to building social media, shaping modern cyber security, and improving the world around him with his profits.
When Zuckerberg was 12, he used Atari BASIC, a coding language, to create a messaging program for his father’s dental clinic, appropriately named “Zucknet”. Before, the clinic had been yelling appointment dates and other vital information back and forth, but with Zucknet, they could efficiently communicate precise dates and keep records. This was his first major creation and would help him greatly when he eventually created Facebook Messenger. As his skills improved his tutor, David Newman, said “It was hard to stay ahead of the prodigy.” Later that year, he started taking graduate classes at Mercy College, where he would create an early version of Pandora, which he called “Synapse.” During his sophomore year at Harvard, he created his piece de resistance; Facebook. Beginning as a chat site for college students run out of his dorm room, it would explode to over a million users that year. Dropping out of college to pursue Facebook full time, he began developing and growing the platform (ReDahlia).
In 2012, Facebook hit 1 billion users; to celebrate, Zuckerberg bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars (“Facebook Buys Instagram”). By joining with their primary rival, facebook could offer a more complete experience for users of both platforms. Two years later, Zuckerberg bought Oculus, the largest VR (Virtual Reality) company, and Whatsapp, a messaging and calling service with millions of users. These purchases highlight Facebook’s business plan of having as many diverse cash flows as possible (Yarow, ReDahlia).
Unfortunately, Zuckerberg’s social media empire led to issues regarding fake news and other scandals, just like any other platform allowing free speech. The business model Facebook, and many other websites, rely on consists of selling ad space to advertisers to support the platform. During the 2016 elections Cambridge Analytica, and a few other firms used data from 87 million users to create targeted advertising and influence voters. Following this, as demanded by the US and international officials, Facebook led the industry by refining their security measures and setting new standards for advertising. A further tragedy occured in 2018 when Facebook was used to spread hate speech in Myanmar towards muslims, leading to a genocide. As a response Facebook added new filters and consequences for hate speech and extremist content, banning hundreds of accounts (Leskin).
As Facebook has made hundreds of billions, Zuckerberg has consistently used his wealth to help others. In 2010, the same year he was recognized as The New York Time’s person of the year, he donated 100 million to Newark Public Schools in order to end the fight between the school district and teachers. In 2013, he and his wife started the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), whose goals are to invest in lobbying, charities, and influencing public policy. Coupling his tech background with his philanthropy, CZI donated 20 million to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that facilitates improvements in internet for k-12 schools nation-wide. Also in 2015, CZI donated 75 million dollars to San Francisco General Hospital’s trauma center. Their large gift allowed the hospital to build a whole new wing for people with severe trauma. In honor of their gift, the hospital was renamed The Priscilla and Mark Zuckerberg General Hospital. Since then, their donations to CZI have totaled nearly two billion dollars worth of stock. As of 2019, they had reached the top 50 Philanthropists list five times, having donated 3.7 billion dollars in total. Zuckerberg, along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, took The Giving Pledge, a vow to donate 90% or more of your money to charity (“Mark Zuckerberg”).
Mark Zuckerberg should get more recognition for his vast and impactful work rather than his mistakes. His role in creating and developing a large amount of social media was absolutely vital to most of modern society. Without him, social media, communication, relationships, daily life, and entertainment, would all be vastly different and less effective. Simply typing his last name into google shows how successful and impactful he was. As his wife Precilla put it “I think it’s a shame people don’t see the funny, thoughtful Mark that I know. He is incredibly sensitive and really cares about what others need and want.”