Net worth

Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth Dropped $71 Billion This Year

The 2022 stock market rout has reduced the personal worth of many tech billionaires, but none more so than Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder of the company formerly known as Facebook, Zuckerberg has seen his net worth plummet by nearly $71 billion this year, according to calculations by Bloomberg. Zuckerberg, now 38, rose from No. 3 on the Forbes billionaires list last year to No. 22 today.

Blame the decline on the steep drop in shares of Meta, which holds the bulk of Zuckerberg’s fortune. While the fall in financial markets this year has deflated the fortunes of several tech billionaires by around a quarter, no one, not even crypto CEO Changpeng Zhao, has seen Zuckerberg-scale annihilation.

Since Facebook became Meta nearly a year ago, its stock has lost about 60% of its value, dragging Zuckerberg’s value down with it.

The company’s pivot to the Metaverse highlights problems with its traditional business model, which relies on selling huge amounts of advertising for very specific user data. Apple iOS 14 changes last year which made it harder for advertisers to track has significantly reduced Meta’s earning power.

Among social media companies, Meta and Snap rely on iOS users the most, said Angelo Zino, an analyst at CFRA who covers social media companies. He pointed to Alphabet, Google’s parent company, whose revenue has held up better “because they’re not as exposed to iOS changes,” he said.

“The privacy issue has been a much bigger thorn in the side than most people anticipated, and it will likely be an issue for longer than anyone thought,” he added.

Along with the revenue slowdown, Meta reported its first-ever drop in user numbers in February. At the same time, the company has increased spending by about $10 billion a year to develop the virtual reality metaverse, a project Zuckerberg has warned could take many years. This is a source of concern for investors who see an increase in spending in the short term without the guarantee of a gain.

“There are reasons to be excited if you’re an investor over time, but what we know of investors is that they tend to be impatient,” Zino told CBS MoneyWatch.

Zuckerberg remains optimistic

“You know the next vision of a wider internet could potentially make it happen, you just don’t know how long it will take and what exactly Meta’s role will be… all you know right now is it’s going to cost a lot of money,” he said.

Still, his plummeting wealth doesn’t seem to have tarnished Zuckerberg’s techno-optimism. Speaking to podcast host Joe Rogan last month, the Meta chief doubled down on his belief that the Metaverse would be more “useful” and allow people to have a “healthier” relationship with technology.

“I don’t necessarily want people to spend more time with computers,” Zuckerberg said, according to Fortune. “I just want people’s screen time to be better.”