Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, one of the five co-founders of Facebook, was born on May 14, 1984, and grew up in the suburbs of New York, Dobbs Ferry. He is the only son in the educated family. His father, Edward Zuckerberg, was a dentist and had his own dental center. His mother, Karen Zuckerberg, was a psychiatrist and worked before the birth of her children.
Mark Zuckerberg studied at the Academy of Phillips Exeter. He showed high results there in different subjects and activities, but he still had interest to coding and making new programs. He became known in developing software and some companies wants him to join them.
Mark got curiosity in programming yet in elementary school. His father taught him ATARI BASIC programming and thanks to him, Mark used this program and created a messenger, which was called “ZuckNet”. When he created this messaging app, he was about 12 and it was considered to be the first and one of the most important success of him. This program connected different computers and let them transfer messages between each other using this app.
Mark is good at not only creating such kind of programs, but also developing games. I watched a film about him, which is called “Social Network” and was made in 2010. In this film, he said that he developed games and gave them to Microsoft free, because he was doing it just for having fun.
In high school, Zuckerberg worked under the Intelligent Media Group to build a music player, which was called Synapse Media Player. The device used machine learning to learn the listening habits of a user who was sent to Slashdot and scored three out of 5 on PC Magazine.
In 2002, after graduating Phillips Exeter, Mark Zuckerberg entered Harvard University. His most successful years began at this university, while living in dormitory. I am going to write about how his life was in Harvard and how he created Facebook during study years through the film, which I watched about him.
At this university, there were many students from different rich families and Mark called them the cream of society. They were joining to various clubs, hobby groups and so on. Mark wanted to make a program to draw their attention to him.
In 2003, once summer evening, after broke up with his girlfriend, Mark was drunk and suffered from insomnia in his dormitory room. He decided to create a program, in which all pictures of students from different dormitories, at Harvard could be found. According to the film, he asked his friend to tell him the algorithm, which he used before. He hacked the records of Harvard, downloaded all pictures, and using this algorithm, he made a program called FaceMash.
He got a lot of trouble from the admins. This program took two pictures of female students, put them next to each other, and allowed the user to compare them by clicking one of them. During only four hours, almost 450 students clicked to this program and due to exceeding the limit, Harvard server was shutting down. Mark Zuckerberg was accused of computer hacking and for sure, nobody said “Good job!” to him and he received a six months academic distance. Although this was a problem for him, but thanks to this program, Mark had noticed that such kind of things cause a huge interest in society.
History of Facebook
After making FaceMash, Mark was already known in Harvard and Divya Narendra, who was co-founder of Harvard Connection, and his two partners, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss decided to work with him in order to create a social network, which for Harvard students. In conversation with Mark, Divya Narendra explained that they wanted to make a program, in which students could share their photos, personal information and some useful links. The only needed thing was to make a program and creating a special code that would let the system work as quickly as possible. After meeting with them, Mark decided to join them and began to work on Harvard Connection. While working on that, he found out a fantastic idea for his own social network.
In February 2004, Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg and two of his roommates built Facebook as an alternative to Harvard Directory. It differed from other sites, because initially only Harvard students, who had “.edu” e-mail address, could register. The domain name was TheFacebook.com, now known throughout the world as Facebook.com.
Mark noticed that people had interest to whom they knew in real life. Facebook let them find each other, communicate online and had fun together. It was something new. “Add me on Facebook” was the most used word in Harvard during first weeks. Within a month of the site’s launch, almost three quarters of Harvard students had registered. “Facebook spread rapidly and by June 2004; it was serving about 30 colleges and more than 150000 users” (“Facebook Stares Down Success,” Fortune Magazine, November 28, 2005).
Scandals of Facebook
However, Facebook had many scandals after being famous among people.
Twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their partner- Divya Narendra accused Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea. As it was shown in the film, they claimed that in 2003, they hired Mark Zuckerberg to help them to complete the establishment of the social network HarvardConnection.com. According to them, Zuckerberg did not respond to their e-mails and always postponed to meet with them, saying he was busy and never provided them with the results of his work, but used the original source code to create Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg always claimed that he had never used the same codes in order to create the Facebook. He said that he used the idea, improved it and created his own program, but did not take even one of the codes which partners gave him.
In the same year, Narendra and the Winklevoss twins launched their own network renamed to ConnectU. In addition, they continued to attack on Mark Zuckerberg, complaining Harvard administration and The Harvard Crimson newspaper. Initially, Mark Zuckerberg pressed journalists not to publish the investigation: he showed them what supposedly he did for HarvardConnection, which responds he wrote them and explained that those developments were not related to Facebook. Nevertheless, very unexpectedly, another Harvard student – John Thomson – in personal conversations started saying that Zuckerberg stole one of his ideas for Facebook. Subsequently, the newspaper decided to publish these complains, and it offended Mark Zuckerberg very much. All these conversations were shown in the film as well.
Zuckerberg took revenge on The Harvard Crimson. According to Silicon Alley Insider, in 2004, he broke the mailboxes of two journalists from The Harvard Crimson, using Facebook. He found users who were involved in the newspaper and browsed their logs (i.e. history) of incorrectly entered passwords in Facebook. Zuckerberg’s expectations were met: two employees of the newspaper absentmindedly tried to login Facebook with passwords from their mailboxes. Silicon Alley Insider wrote that Zuckerberg got lucky: he had a chance to read the correspondence about him between the editorial office and HarvardConnection.
The Winklevoss twins and Narendra filed a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg, but the court rejected their claim. They were persistent and filed another lawsuit. This time, the court examined the code sources to understand whether they were actually stolen. However, the truth was still not clear. The examination results were not announced. In 2009, Zuckerberg agreed to pay $45 million ($20 million in cash, and the remaining amount in Facebook shares) ConnectU as part of the court settlement. The case was closed. By that time ConnectU had less than 100,000 users, Facebook boasted about 150 million users.
The Winklevoss twins yet did not calm down and filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals, but they were denied a retrial. According to their lawyer Jerome Falk, the appellate court refused to take a review of the case based only on the parties’ settlement agreement, which states that members of the trial after the signing of the document does not have the right to resume the trial. In counsel’s view, the decision was illegal, as Mark Zuckerberg in a proceeding in 2008 provided false information about the company’s value.
On May 17, 2011, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss filed another lawsuit against the owner of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg to the U.S. Supreme Court. That was the latest attempt by the brothers to make the court reconsider the case. However, in the histories as well as in the film there was no information about the ending of the court. However, probably, Mark paid some money for them in order to close the case or he accepted their partnership on Facebook.
Success of Facebook
Registering by many users was unexpected to Mark and his partner, investor as well as friend- Eduardo Saverin. After they noticed that people who registered on Facebook increased day by day, they decided to hire new programmers. One of them was a Mark’s neighbor, Darren Moskowitz, who opened the Facebook service to students at Columbia University, Stanford, and Yale.
At that point, Mark decided to drop out university and moved to California to pursue Facebook full time. (Cassidy, “Me Media.”)
Around the same time after the IPO, Zuckerberg owned 503.6 million shares. Now Zuckerberg controls nearly 60% of the company’s votes, 35% – Eduardo Saverin, and 5% went to the newcomer Moskowitz. Another friend of Mark, Chris Hughes, was assigned as the Press Attache of Facebook. (Mark Zuckerberg, “Success story of Facebook Founder”, astrumpeople.com)
Sometime later, the registration was opened to all students. The main thing was the availability of an email address in the .edu zone, which also indicated a person’s belonging to the education sector, without depending on kinds of university. “The site was expanded to more than 800 college networks in the United States” (Facebook, “Company Timeline,” Facebook press room)
It must be said that at first this worked out nicely. The project attracted audience attention. When a user signed up, he had to add detailed information about himself, and in addition to the email address in the .edu zone, it was demanded to add a real profile picture. If people used different pictures instead of real ones, their profiles were deleted.
Facebook became more popular and grew rapidly, that is why Mark already needed new investors. To finance him, Mark received first investment from Peter Thiel, who was the co-founder of PayPal. He invested 500000 dollars and that amount was sufficient for Facebook purposes. However, Facebook evolved rapidly and for further development of it, more investors were needed.
In May 2005, Facebook raised another 12.7 million dollars from Accel Partners and Thiel at a rumored 100 million dollars valuation. Eleven month later, the company obtained an additional 27.5 million from Greylock Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Accel and Thiel at a valuation reported to be about 500 million dollars. (Cassidy, “Me Media.”)
By 2005, all students had an access to Facebook in all universities and educational institutions of USA. However, Mark realized that not only students, but also all people besides students had interest to this social network. That is why he decided to make an accessible registration for everybody in September 2006, and with that, “Facebook epidemic” started.
In 2007, the most important thing happened on Facebook. Microsoft acquired 1.6% equity stake in Facebook for an impressive amount of $240 million dollars. On this basis, a number of analysts suggested that the total value of Facebook reached $15 billion. Quite good results for the company, whose income did not exceed $200 million a year. After the deal, Bill Gates created an account on Facebook. He used to spend several hours a day to communicate through Facebook with everyone, but after a time decided to close his account for some time, because there were too many people willing to chat with him. Physically, he was not able to chat with all of them. However, Gates provided a major PR campaign for Facebook worldwide. This is of particular importance for Microsoft, given that it had an exclusive advertising agreement with the social network until 2011.
Facebook day by day
The main key attribute that Zuckerberg acquired was his creativity. He is a person, who can easily draw conclusions from what he hears. According to the film that I watched, I decided so. Once his friend came to him, and asked about one girl that he liked and did not know she had a boyfriend or not. After that, Mark decided to add “Relationship” part into Facebook. In 2005, Facebook added photo-sharing features, which allowed to all users to share their photos with their friends.
In 2006, Facebook added News Feed as well, which showed what your friends were doing. For example, if somebody shared a photo or became a friend with another person, or update a status, every friend of him saw this news in his or her main page of Facebook.
In 2011, Mark added “Facebook Timeline” which showed all information about a person. If somebody wanted to know something about one of his friend, he entered his timeline and saw all activities, which he added to his Facebook.
When Facebook began to be a part of life, privacy issues were considered more essential. Facebook created tools that allowed users to manage their privacy. Users could limit the visibility of their status updates, photos and personal information. Even they could group their friends and when shared information could choose which group of people would see them. In 2009, Facebook had changed some privacy tools, allowing people to see each other’s photos, status updates, activities and even friend’s list, which was previously private by user. Due to these problems, Facebook did not pay penalty in 2009, but it got warning about penalty of 16000 dollars a day about future offense.
In 2007, Facebook also allowed companies to create their own pages and attract Facebook users “to like” them. After liking a page, users can see the updates, pictures, and videos of company in their News Feed. It helped a company to advertise their products and draw the public attention. In May 201, Facebook created Promoted Posts, in which page owner could pay to push their content to a broader audience. These posts were called “Sponsored” and the original poster could see how many people saw this post.
Acquisitions of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is a great entrepreneur who can always choose the best for his company. His strategy is known in all over the world. Instead of being competitor with a company, he prefers to buy it and make it a part of Facebook.
In April 2012, he made Instagram one of the part of Facebook, paying for $1 billion in cash and stock. It was an iOS application and developed by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. After acquiring instagram, now the application is available on Android OS as well.
In March 2014, Facebook completed the acquisition of Oculus Rift for $2 billion. Oculus Rift is a virtual reality hardware engineered by Oculus VR Company headed by Palmer Freeman Luckey.
In October 2014, Mark Zuckerberg finished the purchase of WhatsApp for $22 billion. Facebook paid $4.59 billion in cash and 177,760,669 shares in the company. WhatsApp is an instant messaging application founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009.
How Facebook Makes Money
In 2013, the turnover of Facebook, Inc. reached $7.87 billion and net income – $1.5 billion. The growth rates are also impressive: three years turnover has increased six-fold.
The basic earnings of Facebook come from contextual ads on the pages of the social network. Growing number of users and the time they spend on the site is converted into advertising revenues. 85% percent of cash-flow that went through the company last year was earned through contextual advertising.
The most of the rest 15% are deductions from purchases made through the Facebook payment system. These are mostly not real, but virtual goods. For example seeds, fruits and vegetables, purchased by fans of the popular game Farmville developed by Zynga.
Despite the apparent frivolity, virtual goods is a serious business, and the Facebook report confirms that. The company estimated that in 2010, the global market turnover for virtual goods reached $7 billion, and by 2014, it rose to $15 billion.
At the beginning of January 2013, Facebook Inc. started testing the service of paid private messaging. Facebook charges $1.00 for a private message that you can send to the users who are not in your friend list. Moreover, the message goes directly to their Inbox folder, instead of other one. However, Facebook went further and realized that some users are worth more than a $1. If you want to send a message to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and get into his inbox, you might have to pay $100 for this exclusive option. This is another very simple way to generate additional revenue.
Advantages of Facebook
Facebook for Networking
Nowadays, Facebook is the widely used social media and almost everybody had already an account in this social networking website. Everybody uses Facebook to be in touch with his or her family, friends, colleagues, and even to meet new people on Facebook.
Furthermore, it’s easy to find people who have the same interests with you by seeing their profiles, and you can easily connect with them using private messages, and video chats.
Indeed, nowadays people use Facebook in order to date with a person, who is considered like-minded with you.
Facebook for Business
Facebook is one of the most famous website and a lot of people from all over the world use this networking site. It allows people to promote their business among different nationalities and make their brand famous among them. Actually, nowadays, we can say that almost every company has Facebook page and it makes them gain a lot of customers or even suppliers from that.
Facebook Video Chatting
Facebook has a partnership with Skype. It allows people to call them via video and see each other without depending on distance. I can give an example from myself as well. I live in Poland and my family lives in Azerbaijan. Last year, unfortunately, whatsapp video calls did not work and I used Facebook in order to be in touch with my family. For sure, it is considered the most essential advantage of Facebook for me.
Facebook for News & Information
As I said nowadays, almost all companies, all television channels or all news portals have a Facebook page. Thanks to them, we may know all news on Facebook without watching TV or checking other websites. One more example from my colleagues and me is that we do not have television in dormitory or in our flats. Even if we had, we would not understand Polish channels. Facebook helps us to follow all news about the world in which language we know.
Disadvantages of Facebook
While registering on Facebook, we add our personal information. Nevertheless, we forget one thing that it is online website, and its privacy sometimes does not depend on us. For me, there is one rule: Never rely on online sites and add your detailed information here.
Fake Facebook Profiles
Facebook is full of fake profiles. Everybody can register with different name and surname, using e-mail addresses. It is impossible to identify all these profiles and delete them.
Nobody can deny Facebook is also a time-wasted app. It offers different interesting games and when you begin to play this game, you do not feel how time passes. On the other hand, in order to be aware of your friends’ activities, you should check Facebook hourly and it does not let you to concentrate to your work. In order to solve this problem, I think, everybody should determine time limit for himself or herself.
On May 19, 2012, Zuckerberg married his girlfriend Priscilla Chan in California and currently, they live together in the Palo Alto.
On December 01, 2015, they announced the birth of their first daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg.
On August 28, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their second daughter, August Chan Zuckerberg.
The young couple also promised to donate 99% of Facebook’s shares – worth $ 45 billion – through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative throughout their lifetime to promote human potential, equity and world development.
1. “Facebook Stares Down Success.”, FORTUNE Magazine, November 28, 2005
2. Cassidy, “Me Media.”
3. Facebook, “Company Timeline,” Facebook Press Room
4. Mark Zuckerberg, “An Open Letter from Mark Zuckerberg,” September 2, 2006, post on blog “The Facebook Blog”
5. “Social Network” film, 2010
6. “Mark Zuckerberg Biography: Success Story of Facebook Founder and CEO.” Astrum People, (2018). Web. 23 Jan 2018.