Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has plummeted $71 billion in 2022

Meta shares have dragged the billionaire’s personal fortune down to $54.6bn after disappointing second-quarter results and the company's first revenue decline

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 24, 2018, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers his speech during the VivaTech (Viva Technology) trade fair in Paris.  Facebook's woes mounted Wednesday, December 19, 2018 as it faced a lawsuit alleging privacy violations related to data leaked to a consultancy working on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, and as a new report suggested it shared more data with partners than it had said. The suit filed by the District of Columbia attorney general is likely the first by an official US body that could impose consequences on the world's leading social network for data misuse.
 / AFP / GERARD JULIEN
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Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has fallen by about $71 billion in 2022, as the stock market bear run continues to erode the personal wealth of many of the world’s technology billionaires.

With a current net worth of $54.6bn, Mr Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, is now the world’s 20th-richest person — down from a high of number three in 2021.

“The fall in Mark Zuckerberg's wealth is not surprising since tech and growth stocks globally have been impacted over the past year due to the economic slowdown,” Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial, said on Wednesday.

“A significant component of many tech titans' wealth is linked to the concentrated positions in their founding companies, making them sensitive to the headwinds in the stock market.”

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Global economic uncertainty — compounded by the Russia-Ukraine war, rising inflation and higher interest rates — has increased volatility in financial markets, which fell into bear territory earlier this year after a 13-year bull run.

Since Facebook changed its name to Meta nearly a year ago, its share price has plunged nearly 60 per cent, dragged down by a 36 per cent drop in second-quarter net profit and the company's first revenue decline amid a fall in advertising and rising competition from other social media platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

In comparison, the Nasdaq Composite Index, where Meta’s shares are listed, has fallen by 27.84 per cent in 2022.

Mr Zuckerberg owns about 12.8 per cent of Meta, the world’s biggest social media company.

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“The much-awaited Metaverse hasn't yet started to pan out as Zuckerberg had envisioned, propelling investors to doubt his visionary plans,” Mr Valecha said.

“An unfavourable macro environment, coupled with temporary headwinds at the organisational level, is hurting the Meta stock, resulting in Zuckerburg's wealth dropping substantially.”

In February, Mr Zuckerberg fell out of the list of the world’s top 10 wealthiest people — and the elite $100bn club — for the first time since 2015, Reuters reported.

At the time, he lost $29bn of his net worth after Meta’s stock recorded its biggest one-day fall on February 4, when it dropped by 26 per cent and erased more than $200bn from the company’s market capitalisation.

Mr Zuckerberg’s one-day wealth decline in February is among the biggest in history and came after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk's $35bn single-day paper loss in November 2020, Reuters reported.

Mr Zuckerberg, however, is not the only tech billionaire to watch his personal fortune tumble on the back of falling technology stocks in 2022, as investors seek safety in lower-risk value sectors such as consumer staples, energy, financials and utilities.

Binance founder Changpenz Zhao has lost more than 50 per cent, or $64.4bn, of his net worth after Bitcoin fell from a record high of $68,000 last November to trade just below $19,000 on Wednesday.

Today, Mr Zhao has a personal fortune of $31.4bn and is ranked the 35th-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, now the world’s third-richest person, has shed $46.9bn from his fortune this year and has a net worth of $145bn.

With a net worth of $150bn, Indian business tycoon Gautam Adani edged out Mr Bezos to become the world’s second-richest person this month after adding $73.4bn to his personal fortune in 2022.

Meanwhile, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have dropped out of the $100bn club after their net worth fell $35.1bn and $34.2bn, respectively, this year, while Bill Gates lost $27bn.

Mr Musk, the world's richest person with $268bn, appears to have recovered from his $29bn net worth rout in April to pare back his losses to only $2.8bn for the year, Bloomberg data shows.

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During an investor call in July, Mr Zuckerberg said he believed the economy was entering a downturn that would have a “broad impact” on the digital advertising business, Reuters reported.

“It's always hard to predict how deep or how long these cycles will be, but I'd say that the situation seems worse than it did a quarter ago,” he said. The company, he said, planned to “steadily reduce headcount growth” over the next year.

However, the outlook for Meta continues to be negative as its business model relies on detailed user data to drive targeted advertising, which has hit a speed bump with Apple's iOS 14 privacy policies, Mr Valecha said.

This makes tracking users' data more difficult for the company.

“Additionally, Zuckerburg's virtual reality Metaverse project requires large spending over the short term without the safety of an assured pay-off, making investors nervous,” Mr Valecha added.

Updated: September 21, 2022, 9:23 AM
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