Home / Tech / The 10 biggest scandals Mark Zuckerberg faced over the last decade as he became one of the world's most powerful people (FB)

The 10 biggest scandals Mark Zuckerberg faced over the last decade as he became one of the world's most powerful people (FB)

Mark Zuckerberg

  • Mark Zuckerberg saw Facebook through a financially successful decade that saw the company’s share price rise since its IPO in 2012.
  • He also got married to his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan, had two children, and bought several houses and properties.
  • Despite personal and professional successes, the latter half of the decade was marked by scandals and congressional hearings for Zuckerberg that led to increased criticism and scrutiny of the CEO and his social media company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg spent the decade overseeing Facebook’s rise in prominence in daily life. From the company’s 2012 IPO, to buying Instagram and WhatsApp, it has continued to be successful and has made Zuckerberg one of the richest people in the world.

Although the company has been successful, its last decade has also been full of scandals and accusations, ranging from a psychological experiment conducted on 70,000 unconsenting Facebook users which examined how changes in the News Feed could impact their mental health, to claims the social network was censoring content.

And then there was Facebook’s role in spreading fake news — which was used to incite a genocide in Myanmar — and the revelation of mishandled Facebook user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal being utilized to target voters in the 2016 US presidential election. More recently, Facebook’s decision not to fact check political ads has drawn ire from politicians, journalists, and even the company’s employees.

Scroll on to see what Mark Zuckerberg got up to this decade.

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2010 was big year for Mark Zuckerberg. He was named Time’s Person of the Year, seven years after starting Facebook.

Source: Time

That same year, “The Social Network” was released and won awards for its portrayal of Facebook’s founding. Zuckerberg maintains that many of the details in the film are inaccurate.

Source: Biography

In 2011, Mark Zuckerberg started settling into Palo Alto. He and girlfriend Priscilla Chan bought a house to live in, plus the four surrounding houses for privacy, totaling about $50 million. They also adopted a dog, named Beast.

Source: Business Insider

2012 was the year that Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion, right before Facebook went public.

Source: The New York Times

In May, Facebook had its initial public offering, listing its stock at $38 per share.

Source: Business Insider

The very next day, Zuckerberg married longtime partner Dr. Priscilla Chan, who had just graduated from medical school.

Source: The New York Times

The couple honeymooned in Rome, and Zuckerberg got to live out his obsession with Augustus Caesar.

He told the New Yorker “My wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon: me, her, and Augustus. All the photos were different sculptures of Augustus.”

Source: Business Insider

 

In 2013, a whitehat hacker tried to report a security bug to Facebook. When no one responded, he hacked Mark Zuckerberg’s account and posted the bug on his wall.

Source: The Washington Post

Zuckerberg spent $100 million on two Hawaii properties in 2014, which include a white sand beach and a former sugarcane plantation. The land purchases would later spark a backlash among natives of the island who felt they were being pushed out.

Source: Business Insider

That same year, Facebook faced criticism for the revelation that it was conducting psychological tests on 70,000 unconsenting participants in 2012, removing certain words from users’ newsfeeds to test how it affected their reactions to posts.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said “This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated. And for that communication we apologise. We never meant to upset you.” 

Source: The Guardian

In 2015, Zuckerberg and Chan had their first daughter, Max, short for Maxima.

Source: Business Insider

To celebrate, they also started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, pledging to give 99% of their Facebook shares, or $45 billion, to “advancing human potential and promoting equality.”

Source: Business Insider

In 2016, Zuckerberg and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced that they would invest $3 billion toward curing the world’s diseases, with a goal of curing them within their daughter’s lifetime.

Source: Business Insider

2016 was a tough year for Facebook, and it faced controversies for removing an iconic Vietnam war photo, suspending video of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, and other removals that made people question Facebook’s content policies.

Source: The Guardian

The company also faced heavy criticisms for misinformation surrounding the 2016 US Presidential election, especially after a Buzzfeed report showed that false news stories outperformed real news. Mark Zuckerberg posted to Facebook an apology and plans to improve.

Source: Facebook, Buzzfeed

In November, BuzzFeed and Bloomberg reported that Facebook spent the second half of 2016 trying to buy TikTok’s predecessor, Musical.ly. The company’s interest in the China-based app drew scrutiny in light of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent criticisms of the Chinese app.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

In 2017, Zuckerberg and Chan had a second daughter, August, possibly after Augustus Caesar.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Then in 2018, news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, revealing that the data-analytics firm improperly obtained data from tens of millions of Facebook users.

Source: Business Insider

Following the reveal that Cambridge Analytica used Facebook user data to target voters, Zuckerberg testified before Congress in April 2018.

Source: The Guardian

2018 also marked one of the darkest moments in Facebook’s history, as reports revealed that the social network was used to incite genocide against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar by the country’s military officials.

Facebook head of cybersecurity told The New York Times that it found “clear and deliberate attempts to covertly spread propaganda that were directly linked to the Myanmar military.” The United Nations called the situation “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Source: The New York Times

In 2019, the FTC fined Facebook $5 billion over violations of user privacy, which was a record-breaking fine for a tech company.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook also announced its plans to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, and in October Zuckerberg once again testified before a committee of the House of Representatives on financial impacts and regulations about the cryptocurrency,

Source: Business Insider

The latest scandal on Zuckerberg’s plate has been about political advertising on Facebook. The company does not fact check political ads, which has drawn criticism from politicians and employees, and seems like it will continue to be a headache for Facebook — especially going into the 2020 election.

Source: Business Insider