Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (/ˈzʌkərbɜːrɡ/; born May 14, 1984) is an American media magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is known for co-founding Facebook, Inc. and serves as its chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder. He also is a co-founder of the solar sail spacecraft development project Breakthrough Starshot and serves as one of its board members.
Born in White Plains, New York, Zuckerberg attended Harvard University, where he launched the Facebook social networking service from his dormitory room on February 4, 2004, with college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. Originally launched to select college campuses, the site expanded rapidly and eventually beyond colleges, reaching one billion users by 2012. Zuckerberg took the company public in May 2012 with majority shares. In 2007, at age 23, he became the world's youngest self-made billionaire. As of May 2021, Zuckerberg's net worth is $117.8 billion, making him the 5th-richest person in the world.
Since 2008, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year award. In December 2016, Zuckerberg was ranked 10th on Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People.
Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984, in White Plains, New York. His parents are Karen (née Kempner), a psychiatrist, and Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist. He and his three sisters, Randi, Donna, and Arielle, were brought up in Dobbs Ferry, New York, a small Westchester County village about 21 miles (34 km) north of Midtown Manhattan. Zuckerberg was raised in a Reform Jewish household, and his ancestors hailed from Germany, Austria and Poland. He had a Star Wars-themed bar mitzvah when he turned 13.
At Ardsley High School, Zuckerberg excelled in classes. After two years, he transferred to the private school Phillips Exeter Academy, where he won prizes in mathematics, astronomy, physics, and classical studies. In his youth, he also attended the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer camp. On his college application, Zuckerberg stated that he could read and write French, Hebrew, Latin, and ancient Greek. He was captain of the fencing team.
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. Zuckerberg took a graduate course in the subject at Mercy College near his home while still in high school. In one 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. It is considered a "primitive" version of AOL's Instant Messenger, which came out the following year.
A New Yorker profile said of Zuckerberg: "some kids played computer games. Mark created them." Zuckerberg himself recalls this period: "I had a bunch of friends who were artists. They'd come over, draw stuff, and I'd build a game out of it." The New Yorker piece noted that Zuckerberg was not, however, a typical "geek-klutz", as he later became captain of his prep school fencing team and earned a classics diploma. Napster co-founder Sean Parker, a close friend, notes that Zuckerberg was "really into Greek odysseys and all that stuff", recalling how he once quoted lines from the Roman epic poem Aeneid, by Virgil, during a Facebook product conference.
During Zuckerberg's high-school years, he worked under the company name Intelligent Media Group to build a music player called the Synapse Media Player. The device used machine learning to learn the user's listening habits, which was posted to Slashdot and received a rating of 3 out of 5 from PC Magazine.