Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has been cut by more than half this year, ousting him from the top ranks of the world’s richest as his company Meta struggles through an identity crisis, according to updated estimates.
Zuckerberg, 38, has lost a whopping $71 billion in paper wealth since January — a time when shares of the Facebook parent company have fallen to new lows. His net worth is now estimated at $55.9 billion.
This puts Zuckerberg at number 20 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index’s list of the world’s richest people — his lowest position since 2014. The Facebook inventor started the year in sixth place.
That’s a far cry from May 2020, when Zuckerberg was the third richest man in the world with a net worth of $87.7 billion, just behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Last September, his fortune swelled to an all-time high of $142 billion, putting him in fifth place, just behind titans like Elon Musk, Bezos, Bernard Arnault and Gates.
The Post reached out to Meta for comment.
The downtrend began shortly after Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would rebrand itself to Meta and shift its focus to the Metaverse. The costly initiative cost Meta $10 billion in investments last year alone and was reportedly heavily criticized by both the public and some employees at the company.
The Metaverse push is just an issue for Zuckerberg, whose company has been under renewed scrutiny by Congress since whistleblower Frances Haugen testified last fall about Instagram’s damaging effects on teen mental health.
The company is also struggling with stagnant user growth on its platform amid stiff competition from rival social media platforms like TikTok. In July, Meta reported its first quarterly revenue decline in its history as it grappled with the aftermath of a global economic slowdown and a struggling ad sales department.
All of these factors have created 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 bring these users back from TikTok.”
Meta’s shares are down nearly 60% since January. Most of Zuckerberg’s wealth is tied to his stock holdings. Meta has underperformed the tech-heavy Nasdaq index, which is down 27% over the same period.
In February, Zuckerberg lost about $30 billion of his paper fortune in a single day.
Meanwhile, Meta has taken cost-cutting measures as the economic outlook worsens, including a slowdown in hiring. On June 30, Zuckerberg bluntly informed employees that the company would “turn up the heat” to displace workers “who shouldn’t be here.”
Reportedly, at the same all-hands meeting, Zuckerberg became visibly frustrated after popping a question from an employee about vacation time.
Earlier this month, Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, argued that Zuckerberg “continues to derail Facebook.”
George noted that Zuckerberg “got rid of his team” and began “chasing money” instead of properly focusing on his business. He also accused the meta boss of surrounding himself with toadies rather than straight-forward advisors.
“He has Sheryl Sandberg there. He had some high-level 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 really derails in real time,” he added. “And I think, honestly, the wealth has gone to his head. Once you start chasing money, being the richest guy in the world – we’ve seen the dangers that come with that.”