Facebook turns 15 on Monday - here's a look inside Mark Zuckerberg's volatile career, from a Harvard dorm room to a congressional testimony

Mark ZuckerbergGetty

  • Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on February 4, 2004.
  • In the 15 years since then, Facebook has become the most popular social media platform in the world, and Zuckerberg has become the fifth richest person in the world.
  • But Zuckerberg has also come under fire in recent years for numerous scandals that have embroiled the company.
  • We took a look at Zuckerberg's up-and-down career in honor of Facebook's 15th anniversary.

Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on February 4, 2004 - 15 years ago to the day on Monday.

Since then, Facebook has become the most popular social networking site in the world, while Zuckerberg's net worth has exploded to more than $60 billion.

In recent years, Zuckerberg's leadership has come into question - and the scrutiny has ramped up following a bombshell report that it knew about Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 US election.

In honor of Facebook's 15th anniversary, we took a look at Zuckerberg's up-and-down career, from Facebook's origins in a Harvard dorm room to the CEO's congressional testimony last year.

Take a look at the ups and downs of Zuckerberg's whirlwind career.

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Facebook, the groundbreaking social media platform cofounded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was launched on February 4, 2004.

Facebook, the groundbreaking social media platform cofounded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was launched on February 4, 2004.

Source: Business Insider

Zuckerberg was a sophomore at Harvard University when he built Facebook with fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

Zuckerberg was a sophomore at Harvard University when he built Facebook with fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

Source: Business Insider

Here's what the original Facebook — sorry, "The" Facebook — layout looked like when it launched in 2004.

Here's what the original Facebook — sorry, "The" Facebook — layout looked like when it launched in 2004.

Within a month of the launch, half of Harvard students were Facebook members. Zuckerberg dropped out of school in 2004 to focus on growing the business.

Within a month of the launch, half of Harvard students were Facebook members. Zuckerberg dropped out of school in 2004 to focus on growing the business.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook moved to a tiny office in Palo Alto, California, and by May 2005, had secured nearly $14 million in funding. The New York Times hailed Zuckerberg has a "21-year-old whiz kid."

Facebook moved to a tiny office in Palo Alto, California, and by May 2005, had secured nearly $14 million in funding. The New York Times hailed Zuckerberg has a "21-year-old whiz kid."

Source: The New York Times

As Facebook rapidly grew, so did Zuckerberg's wealth. In 2008, he cracked Forbes' World Billionaires List for the first time, with a net worth of $1.5 billion. He was the youngest of the 1,125 billionaires on the list.

As Facebook rapidly grew, so did Zuckerberg's wealth. In 2008, he cracked Forbes' World Billionaires List for the first time, with a net worth of $1.5 billion. He was the youngest of the 1,125 billionaires on the list.

Source: Forbes

That same year, Facebook settled a lawsuit with former Harvard classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, who had alleged that Zuckerberg had stolen their idea for Facebook from their social media platform Connect U. As part of that settlement, they received 1.2 million Facebook shares.

That same year, Facebook settled a lawsuit with former Harvard classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, who had alleged that Zuckerberg had stolen their idea for Facebook from their social media platform Connect U. As part of that settlement, they received 1.2 million Facebook shares.

Source: Business Insider

Over the next few years, Zuckerberg took up political causes, including advocating for the spreading of internet access around the world.

Over the next few years, Zuckerberg took up political causes, including advocating for the spreading of internet access around the world.

Source: Business Insider

In 2012, Zuckerberg hit a career milestone as Facebook debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. At the time, it was the biggest technology IPO in history.

In 2012, Zuckerberg hit a career milestone as Facebook debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. At the time, it was the biggest technology IPO in history.

Source: Business Insider

Over the next few years, Zuckerberg would flex his business skills by making some shrewd tech acquisitions. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.

Over the next few years, Zuckerberg would flex his business skills by making some shrewd tech acquisitions. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook also acquired the VR company Oculus in March 2014 for $2 billion.

Facebook also acquired the VR company Oculus in March 2014 for $2 billion.

Source: Business Insider

By the end of 2014, Zuckerberg's net worth had shot up to $30 billion, and would steadily increase over the next three years.

By the end of 2014, Zuckerberg's net worth had shot up to $30 billion, and would steadily increase over the next three years.

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

A new phase of Zuckerberg's career began in 2015 when he and his wife Priscilla Chan launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The couple pledged to give 99% of the value of their Facebook shares to the philanthropic venture to "advance human potential and promote equality."

A new phase of Zuckerberg's career began in 2015 when he and his wife Priscilla Chan launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The couple pledged to give 99% of the value of their Facebook shares to the philanthropic venture to "advance human potential and promote equality."

Source: Business Insider

In 2017, Zuckerberg seemed to be flirting with a career in politics as he embarked on a whirlwind tour of the US. He was photographed working on a Ford assembly line in Michigan, visiting a Civil War battlefield in Mississippi, and attending a church service in South Carolina, among other destinations.

In 2017, Zuckerberg seemed to be flirting with a career in politics as he embarked on a whirlwind tour of the US. He was photographed working on a Ford assembly line in Michigan, visiting a Civil War battlefield in Mississippi, and attending a church service in South Carolina, among other destinations.

Source: Business Insider

But at the same time, Facebook was coming under intense scrutiny for its role in disseminating fake news and misinformation during the 2016 presidential election.

But at the same time, Facebook was coming under intense scrutiny for its role in disseminating fake news and misinformation during the 2016 presidential election.

Source: Business Insider

In 2018, it was revealed that the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica acquired the personal data of 87 million Facebook users in an effort to tilt the election to Donald Trump.

In 2018, it was revealed that the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica acquired the personal data of 87 million Facebook users in an effort to tilt the election to Donald Trump.

Source: Business Insider

Zuckerberg addressed the scandal in a testimony before Congress in April 2018, saying, "we have made a lot of mistakes in running the company. I think it's pretty much impossible, I believe, to start a company in your dorm room and then grow it to be at the scale that we're at now without making some mistakes.”

Zuckerberg addressed the scandal in a testimony before Congress in April 2018, saying, "we have made a lot of mistakes in running the company. I think it's pretty much impossible, I believe, to start a company in your dorm room and then grow it to be at the scale that we're at now without making some mistakes.”

Source: Business Insider

In the 10 days following the initial report on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg's net worth dropped from $75 billion to $62.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.

In the 10 days following the initial report on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg's net worth dropped from $75 billion to $62.2 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Zuckerberg's leadership again came into question in November 2018, when an explosive New York Times report said Facebook knew about Russian efforts to interfere in the US election as early 2016, but waited more than a year to share the information.

Zuckerberg's leadership again came into question in November 2018, when an explosive New York Times report said Facebook knew about Russian efforts to interfere in the US election as early 2016, but waited more than a year to share the information.

Source: The New York Times

The report also said Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg led a lobbying campaign to deflect criticism of the company onto rival tech firms and billionaire liberal donor George Soros.

The report also said Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg led a lobbying campaign to deflect criticism of the company onto rival tech firms and billionaire liberal donor George Soros.

Source: The New York Times

As Facebook stock steadily dropped starting in July, a defiant Zuckerberg told CNN in November he had no intentions of stepping down as Facebook's CEO.

As Facebook stock steadily dropped starting in July, a defiant Zuckerberg told CNN in November he had no intentions of stepping down as Facebook's CEO.

Source: CNN

By the end of 2018, Zuckerberg's net worth had hit a three-year low of $49.4 billion. But it's rebounded since then, and now sits around $65.6 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world.

By the end of 2018, Zuckerberg's net worth had hit a three-year low of $49.4 billion. But it's rebounded since then, and now sits around $65.6 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world.

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

As Facebook hits its 15th birthday, the company faces an uncertain future. There's no question Mark Zuckerberg has come a long way since he launched the site out of his Harvard dorm room in 2004.

As Facebook hits its 15th birthday, the company faces an uncertain future. There's no question Mark Zuckerberg has come a long way since he launched the site out of his Harvard dorm room in 2004.

Source: Business Insider

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