You may have noticed that it hasn’t been a great year public relations-wise for Facebook. The company has been the subject of sustained criticism and scrutiny over various aspects of its operations involving everything from the 2016 presidential election to user privacy. One particularly striking illustration of the company’s troubles is to look at CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has seen some $17.4 billion of his total net worth slough off as a direct result of Facebook’s ups and downs over the last several months alone. But that’s not the worst of it…
Lately, Facebook has been (justifiably) hammered for it’s horrendous handling of Russian election interference and misuse of personal data. Friday saw the company’s stock fall another 3 percent to $139.53 a share. As of this writing the stock is down to $132, its lowest point since February 2017.
As a result Zuckerberg has seen his personal fortune drop to $55 billion, a loss of more than $31 billion since his own personal financial peak in July of this year. His spot on the list of the world’s richest people fell from number 3 to number 6 — and Oracle founder Larry Ellison is close behind at $54.7 billion.
Many are watching to see how Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook team responded to recent reports that the company hired outside contractors to take action against critics of its own privacy policies and its supposed crackdown on Russia-originated propaganda spread through its platform. Among them are Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mark Warner of Virginia, who recently put out an open letter criticizing Zuckerberg and Facebook’s conducts in no uncertain terms:
“Both elected officials and the general public have rightfully questioned whether Facebook is capable of regulating its own conduct.”
It seems that these controversies which Facebook seems to have a knack for generating are starting to have real effects on the company’s bottom line, extending even to Mark Zuckerberg’s own net worth, which is closely tied to the company he co-founded.