On December 10, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were seen in a Costco store, the second largest chain of hypermarkets in the United States, famous for its discounted prices. The couple was walking down the aisle of the store in Mountain View, California, looking for a TV. A few days ago, the 36-year-old man managed to accumulate a net worth of over $100 billion (almost 85 billion euros). The achievement allowed him to join the exclusive club of the hundred millionaires. So exclusive that he only shares it with two other titans of technology Jeff Bezos (56 years old, founder of Amazon) and Bill Gates (64 years old, founder of Microsoft), according to the index of billionaires of the Bloomberg company. Zuckerberg’s fortune derives in large part from his 13% stake in Facebook, the social network of which he is CEO and which since he founded it in 2004 has changed the way the world socializes in the digital age.
In a year that has been complicated economically for most of the planet by the coronavirus pandemic, Zuckerberg has achieved positive results. Its wealth surpassed the $100 billion threshold when the company’s shares rose 6.5% the day after launching Reels on Instagram, a platform that mimics the success that has been TikTok, a social network where short videos are shared mainly by teenagers and young adults. Coincidentally or not, the launch came just after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok, a Chinese application that is in sales talks with Microsoft, as a threat to national security.
As if it lacked reason to celebrate, a couple of weeks ago Zuckerberg’s company said it had reached a new record of 3 billion users on its platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram. A figure that, if it were a country, would mean that its inhabitants would more than double the population of China. The pandemic’s confinement has spurred the use of social media in the most atypical year in recent history, resulting in a nearly 30% rise in Facebook shares and Zuckerberg’s fortune rising by more than ?18.6 billion to become the third richest man in the world.
Despite the fact that when it comes to buying a television, the young entrepreneur seeks to cushion his spending, Zuckgerberg is famous for having a large real estate portfolio, which includes 10 properties in the United States. The last two were acquired in 2019. They are located around Lake Tahoe, a popular vacation destination in the Sierra Nevada Mountains between the California and Nevada state borders. The investment was close to 50 million euros.
The taste for houses has also been a hindrance. For example, in 2014 he acquired a 300-hectare piece of land in Kauai, Hawaii, for about $100 million (about 85 million euros), which has a half mile beach, a sugar cane plantation and an organic farm. But it also includes a dozen small plots that were given to the natives in the mid-19th century when the country’s land was first privatized and which they are allowed to use by state law. In 2017 the businessman sued the Kamaaina families with the aim of having a judge force the sale of the plots to the highest bidder in a public auction. After an avalanche of criticism, he withdrew the lawsuit. “It was a mistake,” he said in a public letter. Currently, a petition launched by activist Mia Brier on the website Change.org calls for a halt to the “colonialism” of the CEO of Facebook in Hawaii. The initiative is close to a million signatures. “The premise of the petition is false. Mark is not denouncing the natives and no one has been forced to leave their land,” a representative of the businessman told Newsweek magazine.
In addition to Zuckerberg’s worldwide fame for his ubiquitous social network, he and his wife are well-known philanthropists. In recent years they have invested billions of dollars in early childhood education programs for underprivileged children and in medical research funds to cure diseases that particularly affect children. In 2010 they joined The Giving Pledge, an initiative that began in June 2010 sponsored by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates inviting America’s wealthiest individuals and families to