On May 24, 2007, Zuckerberg announced Facebook Platform, a development platform for programmers to create social applications within Facebook. Within weeks, many applications had been built and some already had millions of users. It grew to more than 800,000 developers around the world building applications for Facebook Platform.
On November 6, 2007, Zuckerberg announced Beacon, a social advertising system that enabled people to share information with their Facebook friends based on their browsing activities on other sites. For example, eBay sellers could let friends know automatically what they have for sale via the Facebook news feed as they listed items for sale. The program came under scrutiny because of privacy concerns from groups and individual users. Zuckerberg and Facebook failed to respond to the concerns quickly, and on December 5, 2007, Zuckerberg wrote a blog post on Facebook, taking responsibility for the concerns about Beacon and offering an easier way for users to opt out of the service.
In 2007, Zuckerberg was named by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review’s TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. On July 23, 2008, Zuckerberg announced Facebook Connect, a version of Facebook Platform for users.
In a public Facebook post, Zuckerberg launched the Internet.org project in late August 2013. Zuckerberg explained that the primary aim of the initiative is to provide Internet access to the 5 billion people who are not connected as of the launch date. Using a three-tier strategy, Internet.org will also create new jobs and open up new markets, according to Zuckerberg. He stated in his post
The world economy is going through a massive transition right now. The knowledge economy is the future. By bringing everyone online, we’ll not only improve billions of lives, but we’ll also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world. Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy. It is not the only thing we need to do, but it’s a fundamental and necessary step.
To stay proven on the efforts of bringing in the concept of net neutrality, Mark Zuckerberg met Narendra Modi, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai at the Silicon Valley, to discuss on how to effectively establish affordable internet access to the less developed countries. As a token of initiation, Mark Zuckerberg changed his Facebook profile picture to extend his support to the Digital India to help the rural communities to stay connected to the internet.
Main article: Criticism of Facebook
Main article: ConnectU
Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally making them believe he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com (later called ConnectU). They filed a lawsuit in 2004, but it was dismissed on a technicality on March 28, 2007. It was refiled soon thereafter in federal court in Boston. Facebook countersued in regards to Social Butterfly, a project put out by The Winklevoss Chang Group, an alleged partnership between ConnectU and i2hub. On June 25, 2008, the case settled and Facebook agreed to transfer over 1.2 million common shares and pay $20 million in cash.
In November 2007, confidential court documents were posted on the website of 02138, a magazine that catered to Harvard alumni. They included Zuckerberg’s Social Security number, his parents’ home address, and his girlfriend’s address. Facebook filed to have the documents removed, but the judge ruled in favor of 02138.
A lawsuit filed by Eduardo Saverin against Facebook and Zuckerberg was settled out of court. Though terms of the settlement were sealed, the company affirmed Saverin’s title as co-founder of Facebook. Saverin signed a non-disclosure contract after the settlement.
Pakistan criminal investigation
In June 2010, Pakistani Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Azhar Sidiqque launched a criminal investigation into Zuckerberg and Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes after a “Draw Muhammad” contest was hosted on Facebook. The investigation named the anonymous German woman who created the contest. Sidiqque asked the country’s police to contact Interpol to have Zuckerberg and the three others arrested for blasphemy. On May 19, 2010, Facebook’s website was temporarily blocked in Pakistan until Facebook removed the contest from its website at the end of May. Sidiqque also asked its UN representative to raise the issue with the United Nations General Assembly.
Main article: Paul Ceglia
In June 2010, Paul Ceglia, the owner of a wood pellet fuel company in Allegany County, upstate New York, filed suit against Zuckerberg, claiming 84 percent ownership of Facebook and seeking monetary damages. According to Ceglia, he and Zuckerberg signed a contract on April 28, 2003, that an initial fee of $1,000 entitled Ceglia to 50% of the website’s revenue, as well as an additional 1% interest in the business per day after January 1, 2004, until website completion. Zuckerberg was developing other projects at the time, among which was Facemash, the predecessor of Facebook, but did not register the domain name thefacebook.com until January 1, 2004. Facebook management dismissed the lawsuit as “completely frivolous”. Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told a reporter that Ceglia’s counsel had unsuccessfully sought an out-of-court settlement.
On October 26, 2012, federal authorities arrested Ceglia, charging him with mail and wire fraud and of “tampering with, destroying and fabricating evidence in a scheme to defraud the Facebook founder of billions of dollars.” Ceglia is accused of fabricating emails to make it appear that he and Zuckerberg discussed details about an early version of Facebook, although after examining their emails, investigators found there was no mention of Facebook in them. Some law firms withdrew from the case before it was initiated and others after Ceglia’s arrest.
Palestinian Terror Attacks
On July 2, 2016, Israeli cabinet minister Gilad Erdan accused Zuckerberg of having some responsibility for deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis. According to him, the social network has not doing enough to ban posts to its platform that incite violence against Israelis. Some of the victims’ blood is on Zuckerberg’s hands, he told Channel 2.
Depictions in media
The Social Network
Main article: The Social Network
A movie based on Zuckerberg and the founding years of Facebook, The Social Network was released on October 1, 2010, and stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg. After Zuckerberg was told about the film, he responded, “I just wished that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive.” Also, after the film’s script was leaked on the Internet and it was apparent that the film would not portray Zuckerberg in a wholly positive light, he stated that he wanted to establish himself as a “good guy”. The film is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, which the book’s publicist once described as “big juicy fun” rather than “reportage”. The film’s screenwriter Aaron Sorkin told New York magazine, “I don’t want my fidelity to be the truth; I want it to be storytelling”, adding, “What is the big deal about accuracy purely for accuracy’s sake, and can we not have the true be the enemy of the good?”
Upon winning the Golden Globes award for Best Picture on January 16, 2011, producer Scott Rudin thanked Facebook and Zuckerberg “for his willingness to allow us to use his life and work as a metaphor through which to tell a story about communication and the way we relate to each other.” Sorkin, who won for Best Screenplay, retracted some of the impressions given in his script:
“I wanted to say to Mark Zuckerberg tonight, if you’re watching, Rooney Mara’s character makes a prediction at the beginning of the movie. She was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a visionary, and an incredible altruist.”
On January 29, 2011, Zuckerberg made a surprise guest appearance on Saturday Night Live, which was being hosted by Jesse Eisenberg. They both said it was the first time they ever met. Eisenberg asked Zuckerberg, who had been critical of his portrayal by the film, what he thought of the movie. Zuckerberg replied, “It was interesting.” In a subsequent interview about their meeting, Eisenberg explains that he was “nervous to meet him, because I had spent now, a year and a half thinking about him …” He adds, “Mark has been so gracious about something that’s really so uncomfortable … The fact that he would do SNL and make fun of the situation is so sweet and so generous. It’s the best possible way to handle something that, I think, could otherwise be very uncomfortable.”
Jeff Jarvis, author of the book Public Parts, interviewed Zuckerberg and believes Sorkin made up too much of the story. He states, “That’s what the internet is accused of doing, making stuff up, not caring about the facts.”
According to David Kirkpatrick, former technology editor at Fortune magazine and author of The Facebook Effect:The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, (2011), “the film is only “40% true … he is not snide and sarcastic in a cruel way, the way Zuckerberg is played in the movie.” He says that “a lot of the factual incidents are accurate, but many are distorted and the overall impression is false”, and concludes that primarily “his motivations were to try and come up with a new way to share information on the internet”.
Although the film portrays Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook in order to elevate his stature after not getting into any of the elite final clubs at Harvard, Zuckerberg himself said he had no interest in joining the clubs. Kirkpatrick agrees that the impression implied by the film is “false”. Karel Baloun, a former senior engineer at Facebook, notes that the “image of Zuckerberg as a socially inept nerd is overstated….. It is fiction…..” He likewise dismisses the film’s assertion that he “would deliberately betray a friend”.
Zuckerberg voiced himself on an episode of The Simpsons titled “Loan-a Lisa”, which first aired on October 3, 2010. In the episode, Lisa Simpson and her friend Nelson encounter Zuckerberg at an entrepreneurs’ convention. Zuckerberg tells Lisa that she does not need to graduate from college to be wildly successful, referencing Bill Gates and Richard Branson as examples.
On October 9, 2010, Saturday Night Live lampooned Zuckerberg and Facebook. Andy Samberg played Zuckerberg. The real Zuckerberg was reported to have been amused: “I thought this was funny.”
Stephen Colbert awarded a “Medal of Fear” to Zuckerberg at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on October 30, 2010, “because he values his privacy much more than he values yours”.
Mark Zuckerberg appears in the climax of the documentary film Terms and Conditions May Apply.
Use of other social networks
Zuckerberg created an account with Google+ soon after the social network was unveiled, saying he sees it as a “validation for his vision” of online social networking. By July 2011, Zuckerberg had become the most followed user on Google+, outranking Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. As of March 6, 2012, his ranking has dropped to 184 on the service, behind Page and Brin. His public profile is minimal with one photo and a bio that reads “I make things”.
Zuckerberg has maintained a private account on Twitter under the username “zuck”, although as of November 2014, the account’s status is suspended. In 2009, he revealed that the public account “finkd” also belonged to him.
Zuckerberg donated an undisclosed amount to Diaspora, an open-source personal web server that implements a distributed social networking service. He called it a “cool idea”.
Zuckerberg founded the Start-up: Education foundation. On September 22, 2010, it was reported that Zuckerberg had donated $100 million to Newark Public Schools, the public school system of Newark, New Jersey. Critics noted the timing of the donation as being close to the release of The Social Network, which painted a somewhat negative portrait of Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg responded to the criticism, saying, “The thing that I was most sensitive about with the movie timing was, I didn’t want the press about The Social Network movie to get conflated with the Newark project. I was thinking about doing this anonymously just so that the two things could be kept separate.” Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker stated that he and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had to convince Zuckerberg’s team not to make the donation anonymously. The money was largely wasted, according to journalist Dale Russakoff.
On December 9, 2010, Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and investor Warren Buffett signed a promise they called “The Giving Pledge “, in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over the course of time, and invited others among the wealthy to donate 50% or more of their wealth to charity.
On December 19, 2013, Zuckerberg announced a donation of 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, to be executed by the end of the month—based on Facebook’s valuation as of then, the shares totaled $990 million in value. On December 31, 2013, the donation was recognized as the largest charitable gift on public record for 2013. The Chronicle of Philanthropy placed Zuckerberg and his wife at the top of the magazine’s annual list of 50 most generous Americans for 2013, having donated roughly $1 billion to charity.
In October 2014, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $25 million to combat the ebola virus disease, specifically the ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.
On December 1, 2015, Zuckerberg and Chan announced the birth of their daughter Max, and in an open letter to Max, they pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook shares, then valued at $45 billion, to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, their new organization which will focus on health and education. The donation will not be given immediately, but over the course of their lives. However, instead of forming a charitable corporation to donate the value of the stock to, as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and other tech billionaires have done, Zuckerberg and Chan chose to use the structure of a limited liability company. This has drawn criticism from a number of journalists.