Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has famously claimed not to have any real interest in money or wealth, which just goes to show that many of us are cursed to end up with an overwhelming surplus of the very thing that doesn’t interest us: Bloomberg reports that he may be on the cusp of overtaking Warren Buffett on the list of the world’s richest people.
The news comes as Facebook’s stock is in the midst of a recovery from the social media platform’s disastrous PR woes earlier this year, as many users’ concerns about privacy became crystallized by the Cambridge Analytica data privacy breach. The stock hit a low point of $152.22 a share in late March, losing 18 percent of its total value at the height of the scandal. As of this writing it’s hovering around the $202 mark, which puts Zuckerberg’s total fortune at about $81.6 billion, which in turn puts the wealth gap between Zuckerberg and Buffett at a little under $30 million — an unimaginable sum for most people, but at their level of wealth it’s practically spitting distance.
Should Zuckerberg manage to close that gap, it will be partly due to Facebook’s stock market fortunes but also Buffett’s own charitable giving. His famous goal to give away the bulk of his fortune by the time he passes away has already contributed to a slide down from where he once stood as the world’s richest person. All told, he’s donated around 290 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to various charitable causes, and those shares would be valued at about $50 billion today.
Like Warren Buffett, Zuckerberg has also pledged to give away at least 99 percent of his wealth over the course of his lifetime, but unlike Buffett, since he’s only 34 years old he has plenty of time to spread that giving out.