Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has plummeted by $70 billion so far this year, bumping him down to 20th richest person in the world, estimates show.
Zuckerberg started the year with a $125 billion fortune, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. But since then, it’s tanked down to $55.3 billion, a fall of just over 55%, according to the data. Forbes puts his net worth at $53.4 billion.
Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, has had a tumultuous past 12 months since Zuckerberg said it would become a “metaverse” company and then unveiled a massive rebrand last October. Facebook went on to report its first-ever decline in user numbers, losing roughly one million daily active users in the last quarter of 2021.
The brand was also steeped in controversy last fall when whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked information from internal company documents, including claiming that she’d seen internal research which found Instagram contributed to eating disorders and suicidal thoughts in teenage girls.
Meta’s net income fell 36%, or more than $3 billion, in the second quarter from the same period in 2021.
The company said in an April proxy statement that it had spent around $10 billion on metaverse investments in 2021, or roughly 50% of its capital expenditure. Meta said that as of April there were over 10,000 people working on its metaverse projects.
“The metaverse business for us isn’t really going to be a meaningful contributor to the business until at a minimum much later in this decade, and probably realistically this decade is going to be about setting the foundation for that and then the 2030s are really where this is going to contribute a lot to the profits of this company,” Zuckerberg said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.
He added that successful companies should be investing significantly in research and development “to help push the world forward.”
Meta has cut down on hiring in 2022 amid an economic downturn which has impacted the whole tech sector. Reuters reported that Meta had reduced its hiring target for engineers for this year by around a third.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tops the rich list by a long shot, with Bloomberg putting his wealth at $268 billion.
Indian industrialist Gautam Adani, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, French luxury-goods magnate Bernard Arnault, and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates make up the rest of the top five.
At 20th, Zuckerberg is just behind Jim, Rob, and Alice Walton, the children of Walmart cofounder Sam Walton.