Mark Zuckerberg Turns 40: A Look Back at Key Moments in the Facebook Founder’s Career |

Top 5 This Week


Related Posts

Mark Zuckerberg Turns 40: A Look Back at Key Moments in the Facebook Founder’s Career

Mark Zuckerberg turns 40 today (May 14), and by now he has spent exactly half of his lifetime running Facebook (Meta (META)), now Meta Platforms, which marked its 20th anniversary in February. Zuckerberg became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in 2008, at age 23. Since then, his fortune has ballooned to $167 billion, all thanks to the astronomical expansion of his social media empire. While the Meta CEO is reportedly celebrating his milestone birthday on his new $300 million superyacht somewhere near Panama, we’ve decided to take a look back at the most significant moments in his long career in tech and endeavors outside work:

Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter


 See all of our newsletters

1996: Creates his first messaging program

Zuckerberg created his first tech product at age 12, using the Atari BASIC programing language to build a messaging program called “Zucknet.” Zuckerberg’s father, a dentist, used the program in his office to communicate with patients. 

2000: Builds Synapse 

Zuckerberg created Synapse, an early version of the music software Pandora, while still in high school. Several companies, including AOL and Microsoft, were interested in buying Synapse and offering him a job, but he ultimately decided to put the app online for free.

2004: Launches “TheFacebook”

On Feb. 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “TheFacebook” with co-founders Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes from his Harvard dorm room before dropping out the following year. What was originally a website that compared Harvard’s female students side by side, called Facemash, would one day become the world’s largest social media platform. 

2006: Creators of “Harvard Connection” seek legal action 

In 2006, the original creators of Harvard Connection who recruited Zuckerberg for his software expertise claimed he’d stolen their idea and demanded monetary compensation. The lawsuit eventually settled with Zuckerberg paying the creators $65 million after it was revealed that Zuckerberg may have, through instant messages, employed Harvard Connection’s intellectual property at the beginnings of creating TheFacebook.

2010: “The Social Network” movie premieres and Time’s “Person of the Year”

The critically acclaimed film based on the 2009 book, The Accidental Billionaires, documented the inception of Facebook and Zuckerberg’s tumultuous relationship with his co-founders and investors. Zuckerberg claimed many aspects of the film were inaccurate. The same year, Zuckerberg was named by Time magazine “Person of the Year.

2012: Marries college sweetheart and Facebook goes public

Zuckerberg tied the knot with his college sweetheart Priscilla Chan in 2012. The couple now has two daughters and a son. In May that year, Facebook went public at $38 per share, valuing the company at over $100 billion. The IPO made Zuckerberg one of the richest people in the world overnight.

2012: Acquires Instagram for $1 billion

In a move to showcase Facebook’s appetite for growth and innovation, Zuckerberg oversaw the acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion in April 2012. This strategic acquisition significantly expanded Facebook’s user base and solidified its dominance in the social media landscape.

2014: Acquires WhatsApp and Oculus VR

Two years after the Instagram acquisition, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. This acquisition demonstrated Zuckerberg’s vision for the future of online communication and positioned Facebook as a key player in the messaging space. The same year, Facebook acquired Oculus VR, the maker of virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, for $2 billion. This deal marked Facebook’s entry into the virtual reality market.

2015: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative launches

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, founded their charity organization in 2015 to address a range of issues from eradicating and managing diseases to improving education. CZI has since awarded around $4.8 billion in grants and nearly $300 million in ventures. Zuckerberg and Chan have pledged 99 percent of their Facebook shares to nonprofit.  

2016: The Cambridge Analytica scandal 

In 2016, a British data firm connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Cambridge Analytica, used the private information of around 87 million Facebook users, leading to major pushback about user privacy. In response, Zuckerberg announced improvements in the company’s privacy policy to limit third-party access to user data and issued multiple personal apologies. 

2021: Facebook becomes to Meta 

In a major strategic rebranding effort, Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that Facebook would change its corporate name to Meta Platforms, Inc. This move reflected Zuckerberg’s vision for the company beyond social media, emphasizing the importance of metaverse and the future of virtual connectivity.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular Articles