The 10 Greatest Achievements of Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world, but what led to his substantial wealth and success?

Reviewed by Hayley Ramsey

Collage of Mark Zuckerberg Achievements and Meta

Meta CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most recognisable entrepreneurs in the technology business. Zuckerberg’s career accomplishments have afforded him great wealth and recognition, including the honour of being named The Times’ Person of the Year in 2010. His life story is not typical by any means, mostly because of his tremendous success in such a short timeframe.

Many of us are familiar with director Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed 2010 film The Social Network, which is loosely based on Mark Zuckerberg’s highs and lows while building Facebook, the social media masterpiece. The following is a list of Zuckerberg’s life achievements, past and present, and includes a glimpse of his future career goals.

1. He founded Facebook

Facebook went public in 2012 — a major achievement for Mark Zuckerberg, who launched the tech start-up from his dormitory room at Harvard University. Zuckerberg and three of his friends first engineered an earlier version of the mega platform, called Thefacebook(dot)com, for sharing photos and contact details. By the end of 2004, Facebook had gained a million users, attracting the attention of tech’s most influential companies, but Zuckerberg declined offers to sell. At Facebook’s 2012 IPO, Zuckerberg kept a majority share and 50% of the voting rights. His net worth is now estimated at $111.2 (£83.7) billion.

2. He launched innovative programs at an early age

In middle school, Mark Zuckerberg began working with computers and writing software programs. At age 12, he invented a generic messaging program for his father’s dental practice. As a child, he also developed video games that were based on his friends’ illustrations. While a high school student, Zuckerberg interned at the Intelligent Media Group where he worked on and helped develop the largely successful Synapse Media Player — a music player that used machine learning to determine users’ listening preferences. Technology giants AOL and Microsoft attempted to purchase Synapse for $1 million (£750,000) and tried to recruit Zuckerberg, who enrolled to Harvard University instead.

3. He engineered life-changing software in college

Developing Facebook while at Harvard changed Zuckerberg’s introverted life, and it changed how billions of people interact globally. He eventually dropped out of Harvard to build Facebook full time, moving the company to Palo Alto, California. Before Zuckerberg began his role as CEO, he was a talented student and captain of the fencing team at Harvard. He majored in psychology and computer science and excelled in maths and literature. Zuckerberg, along with the likes of Bill Gates, is one of Harvard’s most famous dropouts, and in May 2017, he returned to the prestigious school as the principal speaker during Harvard’s 366th Commencement.

4. He expanded a successful social media empire

Mark Zuckerberg continues to reinforce Facebook’s influence in everyday life. Ultimately, he’s broadened Facebook’s power by acquiring other popular social media platforms, such as WhatsApp in 2014 and Instagram in 2012, which substantially increased Zuckerberg’s wealth. Right before Facebook went public with the news, the company paid $1 billion (£750 million) for photo-sharing app Instagram — a bargain for the world’s biggest social media enterprise. It was also deemed one of Zuckerberg’s great accomplishments, considering the 2011 rumours that the world’s youngest billionaire planned to close Facebook — the triumph he’d launched only eight years’ prior.

5. He achieved political influence

Given its power to influence decision making among users, Facebook plans to form a commission of policy experts and scholars to offer advice on election-specific issues, according to company insiders. To allay concerns that Zuckerberg’s influence is inappropriate, in 2018, Facebook set up the Oversight Board, an independent group of academics that determined if the company was correct in banning certain political posts. Facebook also set up a political ads library that promotes buyer transparency. The social network’s significant political sway has been observed during the 2018 Brazilian election, and in 2019, prior to India’s national elections.

6. He brought the internet to remote places

Zuckerberg created internet(dot)org in August 2013, alongside a 10-page paper explaining how connectivity should be a human right, and the ultimate aim was to connect some of the remotest areas to the internet. Internet(dot)org (renamed FreeBasics in 2015) partners with six other companies — Samsung, MediaTek, Nokia, Ericsson, Opera Software and Qualcomm. He wanted to make the internet more affordable, and created an education partnership with Nokia, AirTel and edX called SocialEDU, which provides students in Rwanda with free access to numerous educational experiences.

7. He invests in the next generation

Zuckerberg shares his considerable wealth. In 2015, he and his wife Priscilla started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, pledging to give 99% of their shares in Facebook to promoting equality and advancing the potential of people all over the world. The initiative announced an investment of $3 (£2.2) billion for curing the world’s diseases. CZI has donated millions to help students pay for college and has partnered with The College Board to help students preparing for college gateway exams. Zuckerberg has also supported many inner-city initiatives. In 2010, he gave $100 (£75.4) million to the Newark public school system to hire consultants as the district expanded charter school access.

8. He developed Diem cryptocurrency

Facebook has described its cryptocurrency Diem (formerly Libra) as a global currency most beneficial to people who don’t have access to the banking system. Zuckerberg insists that a group of non-profits and companies will manage Diem. The cryptocurrency promotes financial inclusion and provides a secure, cost-effective means to send and receive money globally, with their overall aim being to provide safe and affordable services for people everywhere, including those living in poverty. He plans to make the cryptocurrency feature accessible on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as a digital wallet, meaning that anyone with a mobile phone will be able to send money. Twenty-four financial service companies have backed Zuckerberg on the project.

9. He is creating a new digital world

In 2021, Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta, a signal for the long-anticipated metaverse. Within the metaverse, users can experience the integration of physical aspects within the digital sphere by using virtual reality. Zuckerberg predicts the metaverse will be the internet’s successor — the new way that people will interact using digital avatars. Meta’s chief focus will be to establish the metaverse and the methods necessary to access the space. At the company’s annual Connect conference, Zuckerberg says, ‘From now on, we’re going to be the metaverse first, not Facebook first.’

10. He continues to build innovative technology

Mark Zuckerberg always sets his sights on the next big venture. In 2019, his company reportedly bought a mind-reading tech startup called CTRL-Labs for $1 billion (£750 million). CTRL-Labs engineers a wristband that supposedly decodes the brain’s electrical signals. While Meta has discontinued its facial recognition system, the company is more focused on producing several innovative projects that will help establish the metaverse. Zuckerberg introduced Horizon, which includes Horizon Home, Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms — the first digital spaces accessible through Oculus, the company’s VR technology.

Watch Mark's Zuckerberg's timeline below: 

Final thoughts

Mark Zuckerberg is the brilliant architect responsible for the way most people function within the digital realm. He’s also a devoted father, philanthropist and activist. The timeline of Zuckerberg’s life story details successes that highlight a few decades of hard work. Zuckerberg’s accomplishments prove that big ideas, backed by action, can pay off.

Most of us who use the internet are the biggest beneficiaries of his vital social media advancements. Look forward to forthcoming news and developments concerning Zuckerberg’s virtual reality breakthroughs, such as Interaction SDK, Voice SDK and Spark AR, which are projects currently in the works for the metaverse.

How has Mark Zuckerberg’s innovations made life easier for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!