Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has been cut by more than half this year, pushing him out of the top of the world’s richest as his company Meta struggles through an identity crisis, according to updated calculations.
Zuckerberg, 38, has lost a staggering $71 billion in paper assets since January — a period when shares of the Facebook parent plunged to new lows. His net worth is now estimated at $55.9 billion.
That makes Zuckerberg No. 20 on the list of the world’s richest individuals on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index – its lowest position since 2014. The creator of Facebook started the year in sixth place.
That’s a long way from May 2020, when Zuckerberg was just behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as the third richest man in the world with a net worth of $87.7 billion. Last September, his wealth grew to an all-time high of $142 billion, placing him in fifth place just below titans like Elon Musk, Bezos, Bernard Arnault and Gates.
The Post has reached out to Meta for comment.
The downward trajectory began shortly after Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be renaming itself Meta and shifting its focus to the metaverse. The expensive initiative cost Meta $10 billion in investments last year alone and was widely panned by the public, as well as some of the company’s employees, according to reports.
The metaverse push is just one headache for Zuckerberg, whose company has been under renewed scrutiny by Congress since whistleblower Frances Haugen testified last fall about Instagram’s damaging impact on teen mental health.
The company is also struggling with stagnating user growth on its platform at a time of intense competition from rival social media platforms such as TikTok. In July, Meta reported the first quarterly revenue decline in its history due to the effects of a global economic slowdown and a struggling ad sales division.
All of these factors have resulted in headwinds for Meta, Laura Martin, senior internet analyst at Needham & Co., told Bloomberg. She noted that the company is dealing with “excessive regulatory scrutiny and intervention” and “needs to get these users back from TikTok.”
Shares of Meta have fallen nearly 60% since January. Most of Zuckerberg’s wealth is tied to his stock ownership. Meta underperformed the tech-heavy Nasdaq index, which fell 27% over the same period.
In February, Zuckerberg lost about $30 billion of his paper fortune in one day.
Meanwhile, Meta has taken cost-cutting measures as the economic outlook deteriorates, including a recruitment slowdown. On June 30, Zuckerberg bluntly informed employees that the company would “turn up the heat” in an effort to evict workers “who shouldn’t be here.”
In the same all-hands meeting, Zuckerberg reportedly became visibly frustrated after answering an employee’s question about vacation time.
Earlier this month, Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, argued that Zuckerberg “continued to derail Facebook”.
George noted that Zuckerberg “got rid of his team” and started “chasing money” instead of focusing on his business. He also accused the Meta boss of surrounding himself with sycophants rather than candid advisers.
“He’s got Sheryl Sandberg there. He had several senior mentors on the board. He pushed them all out,” George told Yahoo Finance. “He has a group of young people who are more like Mark’s followers.
“It’s a shame that Mark is really derailing in real time,” he added. “And frankly, I think the wealth has gone to his head. Once you start chasing money because you’re the richest man there is, we’ve seen the dangers of that.