From being a university directory to provide names of the batchmates against their photos to the world’s biggest social media platform; from a small dormitory in Harvard University in 2004 to 5 offices located in 35 countries in 2020, Facebook has come a long way. The trillion-dollar company is a household name worldwide which made its CEO and Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg one of the youngest self-made billionaires in the world.
Mark Zuckerberg is a household name not just because of the trillion-dollar tech success but also for staying in controversies surrounding his company almost every week.
Between the straight graph of success for the tech pioneer, the past decade proved to be nothing but a blend of success and scandals simultaneously. But that’s not on our agenda to talk about today. There is another side to silicon valley’s behemoth that is hardly talked about- the social benevolence.
Notwithstanding the criticism, he continued with his good deeds over the period of time and countless of them were anonymous donations.
Philanthropy By Mark Zuckerberg For The Cause Of Knowledge?
Even though Zuckerberg holds no educational degree, the Harvard drop-out is a positive promoter of education. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the tech prodigy made an announcement about a startup: Education Foundation through which he donated 100 million US dollars to the school of Newark in September 2010. Having gotten a lot of opportunities in life and have gone to some good schools, he believes, “every child deserves a good education and right now that’s not happening”. It was also said that he wanted to make the donation incognito but the former Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and the former Mayor of Newark, Cory booker convinced him not to.
Pledge To Give Away Lifetime Of His Wealth
Zuckerberg, along with the next of his kin, Priscilla Chang, became one of the signatories of The Giving Pledge, where he pledged to donate half or more of his wealth over the period of time. In the declaration, they pledged, “We will spend our lives working to make sure future generations have the greatest opportunities”. Further, they state “we feel a deep responsibility to make the world a better place for future generations”.
Later on, in the year 2015, the couple announced to contribute 99% of Facebook shares, estimated to be $45 Billion at the time, for philanthropic work and children’s education to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Chan and Zuckerberg Initiatives
On December 1st, 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla established an organization, Chan and Zuckerberg Initiative, devoted to health and education. The organization was founded on the day their first daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg was born. The major focus of this organization is categorized under three areas namely education, health, and technology.
Priscilla said “Setting audacious goals is important and we need to think about what’s possible”, in an interview with CBS. In relation to audacious goals, they passionately set up a dream to eliminate and cure all diseases by the end of the century by accelerating biomedical research through building tools.
Later on, the organization was claimed to be a running Philanthrocapitalism because the funds weren’t transferred immediately, but it will throughout their lives. From where we see it, it’s a win-win situation – retaining the billionaire position with one of the greatest donations ever.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Zuckerbergs donated a generous amount of $25 million to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide enough resources required for the research and treatment.
Other Acts of Philanthropy by Mark Zuckerberg
In 2012, he made a generous donation of $500 Million to the Silicon Valley community foundation, which was the biggest donation in the history of the foundation. On April 11, 2013, the Facebook CEO led the launch of FWD.us, an initiative towards prison reform and undocumented immigrants and their Visas.
On October 13, 2020, he also announced via a Facebook post that he and his wife donated $100 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life along with $300 million to support the officials related to the election for the improvement of infrastructure to ensure everyone’s safety while voting.
Other than politics, Mark is an avid reader. In the year 2015, he launched and hosted a book club called “A year of Books”, where he took a resolution of reading a new book every 2 weeks. Every two weeks he recommended a new book to his millions of Facebook users via Email detailing a brief of the book and its author. There were 23 book recommendations throughout the year.
However, much of the philanthropy by Mark Zuckerberg is cloaked under the blanket of legal battles and allegations that no doubt, hold a ground for distrust among the people.
Legal Battles and Controversies That Overshadow Philanthropy By Mark Zuckerberg
Speaking of Controversies, Facebook was born with disputes as 3 of the fellow students accused him of betrayal and filed a lawsuit which was stretched till early 2007. The anecdote was also portrayed in 2010’s “The Social Network”, which also encompassed problems.
Zuckerberg and his colleagues claimed it to be the dramatized version of reality and that numerous things shown in the movie were fake.
Following the 2003 lawsuit, the programming prodigy and his company saw many lawsuits over the period of time including:
- The Eduardo Saverin (one of the co-founders of Facebook) lawsuit where Saverin accused Zuckerberg of diluting his part of the stake and casting him away from the firm. Although the case was settled and Saverin’s name is still among the founders, we are still not sure if the case was resolved on a personal level.
- In 2010, Facebook hosted an online competition called “ Draw Muhammad”, which offended myriads of people, especially Muslims. As if this wasn’t enough, a criminal investigation was commenced on all the Facebook co-founders and the website was blocked in Pakistan until they took down the contest and pages related to it.
- In 2010, Paul Ceglia litigated the whiz professing the ownership of Facebook by 84% and 50% stake. The Fraudulent lawsuit eventually backfired; Ceglia was arrested on Oct 20, 2012, for forging the evidence and making a mockery out of a lawsuit.
- The tech lord was called in to testify against the claims for allegedly obtaining and using the personal information of the users by Cambridge Analytica, without their consent. In an interview with CNN Mark call the whole incident a “major breach of trust” and apologized by saying “I am really sorry that this happened”. Further, he talked about how they will rectify this mistake.