The crash of the stock market in 2022 has hurt the wealth of many internet billionaires, but none more than Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta.
According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, the creator of the corporation formerly known as Facebook, has seen his net worth collapse by about $71 billion this year. Zuckerberg, aged 38, has dropped from third to 22nd on Forbes’ list of billionaires.
The loss can be attributed to the precipitous decline in Meta’s stock, which contains the majority of Zuckerberg’s money. Even though the stock market has wiped out about a quarter of the wealth of some internet billionaires this year, no one, not even crypto CEO Changpeng Zhao, has lost as much as Mark Zuckerberg.
Since becoming Meta about a year ago, Facebook’s stock has dropped roughly 60% of its value, bringing Zuckerberg’s net worth down with it.
The company’s shift to the Metaverse highlights the flaws in its previous economic model, which is based on selling large quantities of advertising against extremely detailed customer data. Apple iOS 14 updates last year that made tracking more difficult for marketers, reducing Meta’s earning capacity significantly.
According to Angelo Zino, a CFRA analyst who follows social media businesses, Meta and Snap rely the most on iOS users. He cited Alphabet, the parent company of Google, whose revenues have held up better “because they’re not as exposed to the iOS changes,” he added.
“The privacy issue has been a much bigger thorn than most people had anticipated, and it’s probably going to be an issue for longer than anyone had thought,” he continued.
In February, Meta announced its first-ever drop in user counts, in addition to declining income. At the same time, the corporation has increased its investment in the virtual-reality Metaverse by around $10 billion per year, a project that Zuckerberg has said may take many years. This is cause for concern among investors, who see a surge in spending in the short term with little guarantee of a payback.
“There’s reason to be excited if you’re an investor over time,” Zino told CBS MoneyWatch. “What we know about investors is that they’re impatient.”
But Zuckerberg stays upbeat.
“You know the next vision for the broader internet could potentially get there, you just don’t know how long it takes and what exactly Meta’s role will be … all you know right now is, essentially, it’s going to cost a lot of money,” he added.
Nonetheless, Zuckerberg’s techno-optimism appears unaffected by his financial drop. In an interview with podcast host Joe Rogan last month, the Meta CEO reiterated his idea that the metaverse will be more “useful” and allow people to have a “healthier” relationship with technology.
According to Fortune, Zuckerberg stated, “I don’t necessarily want people to spend more time on computers,” but “I just want the time that people spend with screens to be better.”