Internet abuzz as Mark Zuckerberg turns 30

2014-05-15 09:40
Mark Zuckerberg (Steven Senne, AP)

Mark Zuckerberg (Steven Senne, AP)

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San Francisco - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was branded all grown-up on Wednesday, his 30th birthday triggering a barrage of online accolades and playful barbs.

The Facebook co-founder's list of achievements is more than enough to make others in his age group feel like slackers.

The Harvard University dropout's wealth was recently estimated to top $25bn and an Oscar-winning Hollywood film was based the story of him bringing Facebook to life.

Zuckerberg is now chief of the world's leading online social network. He married his sweetheart Priscilla Chan in 2012 after Facebook became a publicly traded company.

Zuckerberg has been dabbling in using his influence and cash for philanthropic and political goals.

Website Mashable appeared to strike a chord with viewers with a light-hearted graphic comparing Zuckerberg to a typical 30-year-old.

Young people

Zuckerberg's fortune was stratospheric compared to the less than $9 000 in net worth typical with others his age.

His 28 million followers crushed the 328 "friends" an average 30-year-old has at Facebook.

Some saw payback in reviving comments Zuckerberg, then a mere 20-something, made contending that folks over 30 just aren't as smart as younger folk.

Quotes reportedly made by Zuckerberg to entrepreneurs at Stanford University in Silicon Valley in 2007 underscored "the importance of being young and technical".

Young people have simpler lives and, as a result, can focus their brain power on "what's important," not like those old people distracted by families and such, according to his reasoning at the time.

"There is an incredible and weird kind of ageism that exists in tech start-ups in Silicon Valley," a contributor commented in a Reddit forum devoted to the notion that Zuckerberg once deemed those over 30 as old slugs.

For the most part, throngs at Facebook, Twitter and other online forums wished Zuckerberg well; shared his quotes, and remarked on the success of the man known in his formative days by his trademark hooded sweatshirt.

Quotes credited to Zuckerberg included "What would you do if you weren't afraid" and "Move fast and break things".

Controversy

Zuckerberg is known for advocating a "hacker way" of boldly twisting software or systems in promising directions.

Depicted in the Hollywood drama The Social Network, as a socially challenged computer geek, Zuckerberg has evolved into a confident chief executive presiding over an online community of more than a billion.

Zuckerberg has been Time's "Person of the Year" and cracked the Forbes list of 20 richest people in the world.

Born on 14 May 1984, Zuckerberg was raised in Dobbs Ferry outside New York, one of four children of a dentist father and a psychiatrist mother.

He began writing computer programs at the age of 11. He went to high school at the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, where he was captain of the fencing team, before entering Harvard University.

Zuckerberg launched Thefacebook.com, as it was then known, from his dorm room on 4 February 2004 with roommates and classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin.

The stated goal: "Making the world more open and connected".

Facebook's early years were not without controversy.

In 2008, a $65m settlement was reached with three Harvard classmates - twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra - over their charges that Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from them.

Zuckerberg left Harvard in May 2004 for Silicon Valley, where he received his first major funding to launch the company.
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