Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg
  • Birth Date: May 14, 1984

  • Birth Place: White Plains, New York

  • Parents: Edward and Karen Zuckerberg

  • Arrival in California: 1993 - New York City

  • Naturalization Date: N/A

  • Homes in U.S.A.: Palo Alto, CA

  • Place of primary residence: Palo Alto, CA

Computer Programmer, CEO, Philanthropist (1984–)

Originally from White Plains, New York, he co-founded the website Facebook out of his college dorm room. He left Harvard after his sophomore year to concentrate on the site. Facebook has made Zuckerberg one of the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world.

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984, in White Plains, New York. His father, Edward Zuckerberg, practiced dentistry in the family's home. His mother, Karen, worked as a psychiatrist before the birth of the couple's four children—Mark, Randi, Donna and Arielle.

His father taught him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s. Zuckerberg took a graduate course in the subject at Mercy College near his home while still in high school. He enjoyed developing computer programs, especially communication tools and games. In one such program, since his father's dental practice was operated from their home, he built a software program he called "ZuckNet" that allowed all the computers between the house and dental office to communicate with each other. It is considered a "primitive" version of AOL's Instant Messenger, which came out the following year. The family also used Zucknet to communicate within the house. Together with his friends, he also created computer games just for fun. "I had a bunch of friends who were artists," he said. "They'd come over, draw stuff, and I'd build a game out of it."

At Ardsley High School, Zuckerberg excelled in classics. He transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in his junior year, where he won prizes in science (math, astronomy and physics) and classical studies. Yet Zuckerberg remained fascinated by computers, and continued to work on developing new programs. While still in high school, he created an early version of the music software Pandora, which he called Synapse. Several companies—including AOL and Microsoft—expressed an interest in buying the software, and hiring the teenager before graduation. He declined the offers.

After graduating high school in 2002, Zuckerberg enrolled at Harvard University. At that time that he built a program called CourseMatch, which helped students choose their classes based on the course selections of other users. In 2004, he launched—renamed Facebook in 2005—a directory in which fellow Harvard students entered their own information and photos into a template that he had devised. Within two weeks half of the student body had signed up. Zuckerberg’s roommates, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, helped him add features and make the site available to other campuses across the country. Facebook quickly became popular as registered users could create profiles, upload photos and other media, and keep in touch with friends. It differed from other social networking sites, however, in its emphasis on real names.

After his sophomore year, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to devote himself to Facebook full time, moving the company to Palo Alto, California. By the end of 2004, Facebook had 1 million users. Zuckerberg's company then granted access to other colleges, high school and international schools, pushing the site's membership to more than 5.5 million users by December 2005. In January 2016, Facebook listed 1.55 billion users worldwide.

Zuckerberg launched the project in late August 2013. Zuckerberg explained that the primary aim of the initiative is to provide Internet access to the 5 billion people who are not connected as of the launch date. Using a three-tier strategy, will also create new jobs and open up new markets, according to Zuckerberg. He stated in his post: “The world economy is going through a massive transition right now. The knowledge economy is the future. By bringing everyone online, we'll not only improve billions of lives, but we'll also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world. Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy. It is not the only thing we need to do, but it's a fundamental and necessary step.”

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, are using their wealthy to fund a variety of philanthropic causes. In September 2010, they donated $100 million to help save the failing Newark Public Schools system in New Jersey. In December 2010, the Zuckerbergs signed the "Giving Pledge", promising to donate at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity over the course of their lifetime. Zuckerberg has called on other young, wealthy entrepreneurs to follow suit. "With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts," he said. In 2015, Mark and Priscilla announce the formation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy"

In November 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife pledged that they would give 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charity. "We are committed to doing our small part to help create this world for all children," the couple wrote in the open letter that was posted on Zuckerberg's Facebook page. "We will give 99 percent of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to join many others in improving this world for the next generation." Mark Zuckerberg lives in Palo Alto, California, with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their daughter, Maxine.

Photograph Source:, CC-BY.

Last updated: March 5, 2017