If anybody knows what it’s like to harness the power of the internet, it’s Mark Zuckerberg.
The fair-haired Harvard dropout is the main person responsible for the creation of Facebook, the home of Likes, Pokes (R.I.P.) and Friends.
But the path to internet dominion made him a few enemies, as 2010 movie The Social Network revealed. And now the site is facing its biggest backlash yet.
What do we know about the life of Mr Zuckerberg, who he is married to and how he founded the biggest social media network in the world?
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, now 33, was born on May 14, 1984 in White Plains, an affluent area of New York. Raised Jewish, he is the son of a psychiatrist and a dentist, and he has three sisters.
Growing up, the Zuckerberg siblings lived in the village Dobbs Ferry, 21 miles outside Manhattan.
Zuckerberg was a precocious student right from the get-go, and even attended a summer camp for prodigies called the Johns Hopkins Center For Talented Youth.
He boasted of being able to write in French, Hebrew, Latin, and ancient Greek on his college application, and he was also captain of fencing.
He got into computing programming when he was about 12. Then his dad taught him basic Atari programming in the 1990s before hiring software developer David Newman to be his private tutor.
Super-keen Mark also took a graduate course in software development while in high school.
Soon after he invented ‘ZuckNet’, a messenger which connected the computers in his father’s dental office with those in their home, and which was similar to AOL’s Instant Messenger.
At that time he also developed Synapse Media Player, a program designed to learn users’ listening habits, and he would also develop games out of drawings made by his friends.
But when Zuckerberg went to Harvard to study psychology and computer science in 2003, he struck gold.
After creating CourseMatch, which helped students choose their studies based on who else was taking them, he designed a site called Facemash, for fun.
Facemash, which may have been inspired by a private school directory Zuckerberg came across in his youth, required the user to decide which student out of several portraits placed in front of them was more attractive.
The stats would then form a ranking, like at the end of an arcade game, with the ‘hottest’ people at the top. And Zuckerberg got the pictures from Harvard Face Books which contained pictures of all those living in student dorms.
It was a huge hit, breaking Harvard’s servers and spreading to other university campuses thanks to help from Zuckerberg’s pals, despite criticism from student publications at the time.
But when Zuckerberg launched his own new site TheFacebook.com soon after in 2004, he faced major lawsuits from other Harvard students who claimed he stole their ideas while falsely promising to help build a separate social network site.
Meanwhile Zuckerberg and his team moved to Palo Alto, California, having turned down huge offers from companies to buy Facebook. A tight-knit community of workers was formed, and extracurricular activities included partying and what they called ‘hackathons’ where they’d stay up all night programming.
People invested millions and the site thrived. Despite at first seeming reluctant to use advertising, Zuckerberg introduced targeted ads in 2007.
In 2010, Zuckerberg claimed his intention with Facebook was to ‘make the world open’. In July that year, the site hit 500 million users.
However, soon afterwards, Zuckerberg was locked in a legal battle with his old college friend, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, after he was accused of cutting his stake in the company and refusing to acknowledge his contribution.
The out-of-court settlement resulted in Saverin owning 53 million Facebook shares and being worth an estimated £7 billion.
This was just one of several lawsuits related to Facebook and Zuckerberg’s conduct. He’s even been accused of helping the invitation to Palestinian violence against Israelis in 2016 by not blocking hate posts on Facebook.
Zuckerberg has changed the ‘mission statement’ of Facebook a few times, and in 2017 said it was now about ‘giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.’
As of 2018, Zuckerberg is worth an estimated £48 billion. Since 2012 he’s been married to Priscilla Chan, who he met while at Harvard and started dating in 2003.
They have two daughters – a two-year-old called Maxima and a second called August, born August 2017.
Last year Zuckerberg announced Facebook would change to try and weed out fake news, and in 2018 he apologised over his website’s abuses of privacy following the exposure of its links to British data firm Cambridge Analytica (CA).