Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2012: Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (Born May 14, 1984) is an American software developer and co founder of the hit social networking site ‘Facebook’ He currently serves as its CEO and President. Facebook founded in 2004 has gone on to register more than 600 million users making Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire on the planet. He was recently also voted ‘Times Person of the Year’

Early Childhood: Mark Zukerberg was born to Edward Zuckerberg who was a dentist and Karen Zuckerberg who was a psychiatrist. He was raised at Dobbs Ferry, New York along with his three sisters Randi, Donna, and Arielle.

Mark was into programming since he started middle school. He started with programming games and applications. His father taught him Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s, and later hired software developer David Newman to tutor him privately. He did his schooling from Ardsley High School and his junior year from Phillips Exeter Academy.

During his high school years Zuckerberg, built a music player called the Synapse Media Player that used artificial intelligence to learn the user's listening habits. Microsoft and AOL tried to buy Synapse and hire Zuckerberg which he declined and instead went on to join Harvard in the fall of 2002.

College Life: Zuckerberg initially came up with a site called Facemash. It was a Harvard-specific photo rating site that operated on the likes of HotOrNot. Com but instead used photographs taken from Harvard's online photo address database (the students used to call it facebook), without actually obtaining the subjects'permission. The site became an over night sensation and presented the user with two randomly selected pictures of Harvard students and then let the user vote on which one was hotter. Zuckerberg was reprimanded for this by the Harvard administration and placed on academic probation.

Impressed at his programming skills some of his fellow students invited him to work on a social networking site called Harvard Connection. Zuckerberg accepted the offer, however he hardly turned up for the meetings and soon after, began working on his own social network that was inspired by the idea of the students working on the Harvard Connection. Zuckerberg named it ‘The Facebook’ And soon Zuckerberg's creation started getting lot of attention with new members pouring in. When the people behind Harvard Connection came to know about this, they claimed that Zuckerberg had actually stolen their idea. Zuckerberg on his part has maintained to this day that the above two were very different types of social networks. Finally an initial settlement was reached between the two parties, but with Facebook reaching unprecedented success the legal disputes still continues to this day.

Facebook

Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook with Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin. The site allowed users to post their profiles and photos and communicate with other users. The group ran the site initially called ‘theFacebook. Com’ from their dorm room at Harvard until June 2004. Later on, Zuckerberg dropped out of college to devote himself fulltime to Facebook and moved his company to Palo Alto, California. It was around this time that Zuckerberg came in touch with Sean Parker who was one of the cofounders of Napster. Sean Parker like Zuckerberg was a very good programmer and earned the ire of music labels when they discovered that their music was being downloaded by the people for free. He helped Zuckerberg snap up deals with big players who would help to propel the platform of Facebook into the big league. In 2005, Zuckerberg's enterprise got a huge boost from the venture capital firm Accel Partners. Accel invested $12.7 million into Facebook which until then was only a ‘college-only network’ Soon after adding high schools and international schools, Facebook had more than 5.5 million users in December 2005. The site soon attracted the interest of other companies, wanting to buy it and make it the popular online social hub. However, Zuckerberg turned down offers from Yahoo! and MTV Networks. Instead he has focused on growing the site, continuously adding more features to Facebook. The company has also opened up the site to outside developers, allowing them to offer their games through Facebook. There are more than 600 millions users in Facebook according to current estimates.

Today Facebook has become an important part of our lives today. The story of its origins has inspired Hollywood to come out with a movie called “Social Network” which has given people never before seen insight into how Facebook came about and why it stands as it stands today. The movie has ushered in some negative publicity for its co founder Mark Zuckeberg, who has also recently been in the news for donating half his wealth to charitable causes and also for being the Times Person of The Year beating even the likes of Julian Assange of Wikileaks.