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Zuckerberg, Mark Elliot

Zuckerberg, Mark Elliot, 1984–, American computer programmer and business executive, b. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. A computer prodigy as a child, he entered Harvard in 2002 and two years later co-founded Thefacebook.com, a website designed to enable Harvard students to communicate with one another; it soon was extended to other colleges and became extremely popular. Zuckerberg left Harvard and, with two fellow programmers, moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where they set up a social-networking site renamed (2005) Facebook. By 2012, about 800 million people actively used Facebook, and the company, which was tightly controlled by Zuckerberg, had an estimated yearly profit (2011) of $1 billion. Facebook's reputation was harmed in 2017–18 by revelations that it had been exploited to spread disinformation and propaganda during the 2016 U.S. election, and that the company had failed to inform users that their privacy had been compromised through data harvesting. In 2015 Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged to commit over time most of their fortune (roughly $45 billion in Facebook stock) to a philanthropic initiative.

See D. Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect (2010), and B. Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaire (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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