Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

How Monday’s Facebook glitch dropped Zuckerberg off top 3, as Forbes releases 40th edition of world’s 400 rich list


Facebook owner and billionaire businessman, Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth plummeted by $7 billion (£5.1 billion) overnight as his social media platforms went down in flames, last Monday, costing one of the world’s wealthiest men a fortune.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

This was evident as Forbes released its 40th annual Forbes 400 list, documenting the wealthiest people in America, and it revealed that all ‘rich list’ members have increased their wealth during the pandemic, along with some surprising additions and decreases.


For six hours, last Monday evening, three billion Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users were unable to access the services, costing the firm an estimated $60 million (£44 million) in advertising income.

Not only that, but it is likely to have cost the world’s fifth richest man $6.8 billion, according to Forbes, as Zuckerberg’s personal net worth dropped 5.58 percent to $115.8 billion.

The problem is thought to be the result of a technological glitch that forced Zuckerberg’s social media networks to go down for over six hours.

While Facebook is used by billions of individuals to connect with friends and family, it is also used by businesses all over the world to advertise their services and conduct online purchases.

Facebook issued a public statement apologizing for the downtime but claiming that it had not been hacked and that no data had been compromised.

“To all of the individuals and businesses who rely on us around the world, we apologize for the difficulty caused by today’s outage across our platforms,” it stated.

“At this point, we believe the fundamental cause of this outage was an erroneous configuration modification,” says the company. We also have no evidence that any user information was compromised as a result of the outage.” It will be interesting to observe how this outage affects the social media behemoth in the long run after things have returned to normal.

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal worth dropped by more than $6 billion in just a few hours, bringing him down to number five on the list of the world’s wealthiest people.

Meanwhile, according Forbes, a  net worth of $2.9 billion (£2.1 billion) is now the minimum requirement for inclusion on the list, up $800 million (£587 million) from the previous edition as list members’ fortunes climbed by 40% during the pandemic. In addition, 44 newcomers, including Melinda French Gates and the Winklevoss brothers, have joined the list for the first time this year, and former American President Donald Trump has slid off the list for the first time in 25 years.

The Forbes 400 list, which was founded in 1982 by Malcolm Forbes as a celebration of economic performance and entrepreneurial drive, has been criticized for becoming a societal benchmark for inherited riches.

A significant number of listmakers fall into this category, having inherited a great fortune, while others have started from the ground up and developed their own rags-to-riches narrative.

The majority of the list’s top contenders are actual entrepreneurs who, via their ideas, have altered American and worldwide modernity, such as the founders of Tesla, Facebook, and Amazon, who hold the top three slots.

282 listmakers created their riches on their own, 57 inherited fortunes and used their wealth for a good cause, and 61 inherited enough to land on the list and stay there without accomplishing much.

Members of the list together have a net worth of $4.5 trillion (£3.3 trillion), but what are the highlights from this year’s edition?

With a current net worth of $201 billion (£147 billion), former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has maintained his lead for the fourth year in a row.

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, two other inventors, are close behind with net worths of $190.5 billion (£139 billion) and $134.5 billion (£98.7 billion), respectively.

This year’s list wgich was released, on Monday, included 44 new names, including Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation, bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Moderna Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of COVID-19 vaccine producer.

One of the more eye-opening inclusions is Robert Brockman, an 80-year-old software investor who has been charged with orchestrating the largest tax-evasion scam in American history and has pleaded not guilty.


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