The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has been announced as Time magazine’s person of the year 2010, “for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic”.
Born in 1984 in White Plains, New York, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is one of three children. Zuckerberg excelled at science and classics at Ardsley High School before going on to Harvard to study computer science.
Zuckerberg created the social networking site Facebook in his penultimate year at Harvard with his flat mates and fellow Harvard students Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin.
At first only available to Harvard students, Facebook’s popularity soon spiraled and the site expanded to surrounding universities.
Following a cash injection, Mr Zuckerberg dropped out of university and moved the headquarters of Facebook Inc. to Palo Alto, California.
Today Facebook is nearing 600 million users with more than 1,700 employees and offices all over the world. Although his company figures are kept strictly under wraps, Zuckerberg’s private fortune is said to be worth an estimated £4.4 billion.
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg was the subject of a Hollywood film titled ‘The Social Network’, in which he is portrayed as a somewhat eccentric, devious genius who stole the idea of Facebook from two other Harvard students who commissioned him to create a university social website.
Zuckerberg has denied any truth to the story, however, in 2009 it was revealed that Facebook paid up to 65 million US dollars to settle a lawsuit brought against them by ConnectU, a company run by Zuckerberg’s former Harvard classmates Divya Narendra and brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
Mark Zuckerberg leads a fairly low-key life in California, where he lives with his girlfriend in rented accommodation within walking distance of the Facebook headquarters.
His view of a world united by ‘friends’ is undoubtedly positive, as stated on his own Facebook page: “I'm trying to make the world a more open place by helping people connect and share.”
In response to the recognition from Time magazine, he posted that it is a real honor and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. I'm happy to be a part of that.