The founder of
Mark Zuckerberg, the 34-year-old multi-billionaire, is set to be have $15 billion less as the constant bad news surrounding his social media giant took its toll on his fortune, according to
COO Sheryl Sandberg downplaying Russian election interference, user data breaches and fleeing executive talent punished the brand, as well as the man, whose fortune is mostly tied up in ownership of the Facebook platform.
Money Magazine drew up a timeline of debacles and stumbles over the course of the year that plunged the billionaire multiple notches down on the list of the wealthiest people on the planet.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, testifying before Congress about the Cambridge Analytica use of user data in the 2016 election
Beginning in March, Christopher Wylie, the co-founder of the data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, revealed that misappropriated 50 million of Facebook users’ data (revised up to 87 million later) and then used that information to target voters in the 2016 election on behalf of the Trump campaign.
The Facebook founder temporarily lost $13 billion on the news which forced him to concede that his company may have made a mistake in not proactively doing something about the breach.
‘When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren’t using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case,’ Zuckerberg told Congress when placed on the hotseat. ‘In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake.’
Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune dropped from $75 billion at the start of the year to $57 billion by its end
Facebook went from a high this year of $217.50 per share down to a trading price of $144.06 amid the scandals and problems at the social media giant
Due to lackluster sales and poorer prospects for growth, investors soured on the platform. Zuckerberg also admitted that spending on security in light of the previous scandal would affect profits.
Then came the worst single-day loss in share value in the history of U.S. stocks. Facebook provided its Q2 earnings after trading hours on July 25 while at an all-time high price of $217.50.
On July 26, the shares opened 20% lower. Zuckerberg lost $15.9 billion by the end of the day, and another $2.2 billion in following days.
With an accelerating fall underway, Money points to an exodus of executive talent from acquired businesses WhatsApp and Instagram painting an unhealthy picture of the internal politics of the company with WhatsApp co-founder tweeting ‘It is time. #deletefacebook’ as he departed.
COO Sheryl Sandberg testifying to the U.S. Senate about foreign operations on social media in September. Sandberg reportedly downplayed evidence of Russian election interference on Facebook
Facebook took multiple hits to its stock value this year which then dragged down its co-founder’s net worth by almost 25 percent
Georg Schaeffler, a German billionaire producer of ball bearings, machine components and car parts was second in the worst losses list of Bloomberg Billionaires
In November, before things could settle down, the New York Times dropped a bombshell about ‘Lean In’ author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s role during a variety of the company’s scandals: ignoring Russian hacking, playing down Cambridge Analytica’s data misuse and even lying about hiring the data company to target liberal billionaire George Soros.
The platform even received criticism earlier this year from the United Nations human rights experts weighing in on its culpability for the spread of hate speech leading to the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.
Zuckerberg’s embattled financial empire now stands at $57 billion down from $75 billion at the beginning of the year, the biggest loss among 500 billionaires according to the
He still stands at number six on the Index’s list of billionaires.
German car parts industrialist Georg Schaeffler finds himself in second place with a loss of $13.8 billion for the year.