Mark Zuckerberg and the History of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is a household name, known for being one of the founders of the most well-known social networking site, Facebook. Zuckerberg is currently the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, Inc. and is worth more than 18 billion dollars. He is known to be a very private person that shies away from the spotlight. In 2010, a movie was made portraying Zuckerberg’s life and the creation of Facebook and was entitled The Social Network.

Zuckerberg was born in White Plains, New York in 1984 and was raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York. He grew up with his mother, a psychiatrist, his father, a dentist, and his three sisters. Zuckerberg excelled in school from an early age and won numerous prizes for classical studies and science while studying at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. During his high school years, Zuckerberg was also the captain of the fencing team. In 2012, Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan and the two currently live in Palo Alto, California.

At an early age, Mark developed a serious interest in computers. At about 12 years old, he actually used an Atari BASIC to build a messaging program he referred to as “Zucknet.” The program was completely functional and his family used it as a means of communication within the house. Around this time Zuckerberg would also develop computer games with his friends just for fun. In order to nurture his new found interest in computers, Zuckerberg’s parents hired a computer tutor named David Newman to work with Mark once a week. Zuckerberg continued to develop his skill, and while studying at Phillip Exeter Academy he created a program, similar to Pandora, that he called “Synapse.” Before he even graduated from high school, Zuckerberg was fielding job offers from several tech companies including Microsoft and AOL.

After graduating from high school in 2002, Mark was accepted into Harvard University. Very quickly, he became known as the go to guy on campus for software development. During his time on campus he built various programs including CourseMatch, which was a program that helped students choose classes based on course selections of other users, and Facemash, a program which compared pictures of students on campus and allowed users to place a vote on which student was more attractive. Facemash became incredibly popular with students but was shut down by school administrators who deemed the program inappropriate.

After becoming known on campus for some of his programs, mainly Facemash, he was sought out by Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, who wanted to work with Mark on an idea they had for a program called Harvard Connection, which would be a social networking site. While Zuckerberg agreed to work on the project, he soon dropped out to work on his own social networking project with his buddies Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes. The four created a site that would allow users to communicate with others, create their own profiles, and even upload photos. The program was called “The Facebook” and was operated out of a dorm room in Harvard until 2004 when Zuckerberg dropped out of school to devote all his time to the project. Mark moved to Palo Alto, California and brought Facebook with him. By the end of 2004, Facebook had amassed one million users.

Facebook continues to grow and is currently the world’s biggest social media site, with more than 900 million monthly users. On May 18, 2012, the company held its initial public offering (IPO); it was the largest in internet history, and one of the largest in technology. The Facebook IPO had a peak market capitalization of more than 104 billion dollars. It was recently revealed that Zuckerberg does not currently collect a salary for himself.

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