The stock market crash of 2022 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 drop by almost $71 billion this year, according to calculations by Bloomberg. Zuckerberg, now 38, has dropped from No. 3 in Forbes billionaires list last year to No. 22 today.
The drop is due to the precipitous drop in shares of Meta, which owns most of Zuckerberg’s fortune. While the slump in financial markets this year has deflated the fortunes of several tech billionaires by roughly a fourthno one, not even crypto CEO Changpeng Zhao, has seen Zuckerberg fall down the scale.
Since Facebook became Meta nearly a year ago, its stock has lost about 60% of its value, taking Zuckerberg’s value with it.
The company’s pivot to Metaverse underscores the problem with its traditional business model, which is based on selling massive amounts of advertising against very specific user data. AppleThat made tracking harder for advertisers and took a big bite out of Meta’s buying power.
Among social media companies, Meta and Snap are the most reliant on iOS users, said Angelo Zino, a CFRA analyst who covers social media companies. He pointed to Google parent Alphabet, whose earnings have held up better “because they’re not as exposed to iOS changes,” he said.
“The privacy issue has been a much bigger thorn than most people anticipated, and it’s probably going to be an issue for longer than anyone thought,” he added.
Along with the slowdown in revenue, Meta reported its first drop in user numbers in. At the same time, the company has increased its spending by about $10 billion a year to build the virtual reality Metaverse, a project Zuckerberg has said could take many years. That’s a cause for concern for investors who see a surge in spending in the short term with no guarantee of a payout.
“There are reasons to be excited if you’re a time investor, but what we know about investors is that they tend to be impatient,” Zino told CBS MoneyWatch.
Zuckerberg remains optimistic
“You know that the next vision for a broader Internet could get there, you just don’t know how long it’s going to take and what exactly Meta’s role is going to be… all you know at this point is essentially that it’s going to cost a lot.” of money,” she said.
Still, the fall in his wealth doesn’t seem to have dampened Zuckerberg’s tech optimism. Speaking last month with podcast host Joe Rogan, the Meta boss 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 on computers,” Zuckerberg said, according to Fortune. “I just want the time people spend in front of screens to be better.”