Mark Zuckerberg Now 3rd Richest Person on the Planet; Surpasses Buffett

Seems like the ubiquitous Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is sitting pretty these days as his annual income has soared. It has been reported that Zuckerberg has surpassed billionaire business mogul Warren Buffett to become the world’s third-richest person on the planet.

The Facebook entrepreneur’s rise in wealth and status further solidifies technology as the most robust creator of wealth as opposed to other fields of business.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zuckerberg had taken the lead over Buffett last Friday as Facebook shares climbed 2.4 percent.

Currently, Zuckerberg stands a bit lower on the wealth rankings than Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Zuckerberg, 34, is now worth $81.6 billion which is about $474 million more than Buffett, who is the 87-year old chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The monetary climb of Zuckerberg has been attributed to investors’ continued confidence in Facebook. Not too long ago Facebook confronted its own challenges, but the social media giant managed to prevail over the negative fallout from a data privacy imbroglio that saw the price of its shares tumble dramatically. It sent them to an eight-month low of $152.22 on March 27th of this year. Last Friday the stock closed at a record $203.23.

Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress in April after news emerged that the personal data of millions of Facebook users had been harvested without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, a British voter-profiling company that President Donald Trump’s campaign hired to target likely supporters in 2016.

Prior to 2016, Facebook allowed a British researcher to create an app on Facebook on which about 200,000 users divulged personal information that was subsequently shared with Cambridge Analytica. The number of affected Facebook users multiplied exponentially because the app also collected data about friends, relatives and acquaintances of everyone who installed it.

Cambridge Analytica said it had data for 30 million of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

Prior to Zuckerberg’s appearance before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Commerce Committee, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Facebook users “deserve to know how their information is shared and secure,” and that he wants to explore with Zuckerberg ways to balance safety with innovation.

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said.

For years, Congress took a largely “hands-off” approach to regulating the internet. Some analysts believe that is about to change after the Facebook data breach, as well as a cascade of revelations about Russian cyber-meddling.

According to a report in Money Magazine, a fifth of the more than $5 trillion in wealth tracked by the Bloomberg index is comprised of fortunes made in the technology sector. The ranking, which tracks the world’s 500 richest people, is updated after the close of each trading day in New York.

Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99 percent of his Facebook stock in his lifetime.

By: Colin Gray

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