Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of five co-founders of the social networking website Facebook.
As of April 2013, Zuckerberg is the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, Inc., and in 2013 his personal wealth was estimated to be US $16.8 billion.
Together with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, Zuckerberg launched Facebook from Harvard’s dormitory rooms. The group then introduced Facebook onto other campuses nationwide and moved to Palo Alto, California shortly thereafter.
In 2007, at the age of 23, Zuckerberg became a billionaire as a result of Facebook and the number of Facebook users worldwide reached a total of one billion in 2012. Zuckerberg was involved in various legal disputes that were initiated by others in the group, who claimed a share of the company based upon their involvement during the development phase of Facebook.
Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year distinction. In 2011, Zuckerberg ranked first on the list of the “Most Influential Jews in the World” by The Jerusalem Post.
Zuckerberg was played by actor Jesse Eisenberg in the 2010 film The Social Network, in which the rise of Facebook is portrayed.
Zuckerberg began using computers and writing software in middle school. His father taught him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s, and later hired software developer David Newman to tutor him privately. Newman calls him a “prodigy,” adding that it was “tough to stay ahead of him.”
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.
Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room on February 4, 2004. An earlier inspiration for Facebook may have come from Philips Exeter Academy, the prep school from which Zuckerberg graduated in 2002. It published its own student directory, “The Photo Address Book,” which students referred to as “The Facebook.” Such photo directories were an important part of the student social experience at many private schools. With them, students were able to list attributes such as their class years, their friends, and their telephone numbers.
At a party put on by his fraternity during his sophomore year, Zuckerberg met Priscilla Chan, a fellow student who he began dating in 2003. Chan is the child of a Chinese-Vietnamese refugee, who arrived in the U.S. after the Fall of Saigon. She was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and is a 2003 graduate of Quincy High School. In September 2010, Zuckerberg invited Chan, by then a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, to move into his rented Palo Alto house.
Zuckerberg studied Mandarin Chinese in preparation for the couple’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in December 2010.
On May 19, 2012, Zuckerberg and Chan married in Zuckerberg’s backyard in a celebration also marking her graduation from medical school. Chan has a medical degree and practices as a Pediatrician.