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Facebook The Almighty Buck

Zuckerberg To Give Away 99% of His Facebook Stock (bloomberg.com) 260

An anonymous reader writes: The Facebook stock currently held by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan is worth roughly $45 billion. Today, the couple posted a letter addressed to their newborn daughter outlining plans to give away 99% of that stock so their daughter can "live in a better world." They say, "Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities." The letter also includes a long list of problems that need to be solved and situations that need to be improved: human health, learning, clean energy, equality, unhealthy childhoods, and more. They go out of their way to mention that many of these will not be solved quickly, and will need investments on a 100-year scale to be worthwhile. They're making internet access another major issue: "The internet is so important that for every 10 people who gain internet access, about one person is lifted out of poverty and about one new job is created."
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Zuckerberg To Give Away 99% of His Facebook Stock

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  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:06PM (#51038375)
    One percent being worth $500 million.
    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:18PM (#51038431) Journal
      Well, actually, only $450 million....

      but, Max and her siblings will still have a head start my children have only dreamed of.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Big deal; he already owns at least $100 Million in real estate; he is going to dribble the money out *through his lifetime", thus guaranteeing him a "security blanket, just in case". Let's say there is a world depression and his fortune dwindles to $10 Million (HIGHLY unlikely, this is a theoretical). Does anyone think he would give away 99% of $10 MIllion? The scale of these grand gestures by Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg, etc. if fine as far as it goes, but one has to view these gestures within the context o
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @02:53AM (#51039159)

          Damned if you do, damned if you don't, eh?

          I'm all for pointing out the evils done by people, but it's a bit sad to always focus on the bad things when there are also good things, on occasion.

          Would it, according to you, be better if they did not do this?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It would be better if there was more equality, and we all got a voice. That is, to be able to donate relatively large and meaningful sums to causes we each believe in, instead of being at the mercy of the few who "made it" by capitalizing on a system that's so convoluted and complicated, where a dollar spent by the consumer doesn't signify a "vote" in the product or person behind it anymore.

            You communicate to the world how much you value something by your willingness to spend money on it. The problem is tha

        • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @07:36AM (#51039871) Homepage

          God you are so right. What a bastard! I wish he would keep all of that money instead of giving it away. That would totally make the world a better place.

    • I'd be happy receiving 1% of 1% of the distribution.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @02:38AM (#51039115)
      He'd make a great favor on the human race by just shutting down facehook.
      • He'd make a great favor on the human race by just shutting down facehook.

        Really? What would you gain?

        • It'd save countless lives.

          Lives of people so concentrated looking at Facebook on their phone while walking (or, worse, riding their bike or driving a motor vehicle) that they don't pay attention and have an accident.

    • Owning stock worth $x != $x in your pocket. Until you have a buyer for your share, it's worth about as much as the paper your share certificate is printed on. Considering nowadays it's usually just bits on a computer, that value is about $0.

      There's some $45 bln worth of stock in his account. To use this to actually do stuff such as finding a solution to malaria would mean you have to sell it. Now here's the problem: are there enough people willing to put down cash to make the total amount they put down for

  • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:17PM (#51038427) Journal

    "The internet is so important that for every 10 people who gain internet access, about one person is lifted out of poverty and about one new job is created."

    Interesting, but I've never heard such a claim before. That also sounds like correlation but perhaps not causation. And is the person who is lifted out of poverty and/or the job created one of those 10 people who gained internet access? What type of job is created? How is someone lifted form poverty? How soon after getting internet access? Maybe it's "eventually" due to education?

    • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:55PM (#51038617)

      Interesting, but I've never heard such a claim before.

      Really? I'm constantly seeing articles about how people made large amounts of money in their spare time, working from home on the internet.

      • by bankman ( 136859 )

        Really? I'm constantly seeing articles about how people made large amounts of money in their spare time, working from home on the internet.

        I've read the same articles as well as a couple of others regarding the enhancement of male genitalia. I am currently working on both fronts, with the calluses to prove, and apparently neither work all the time. So I guess correlation rather than causation... :-)

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @12:58AM (#51038893)

      How is someone lifted form poverty?

      The biggest single reason is easy access to commodity prices. Farmers can see the market price for their crops, and avoid getting ripped off by middlemen. They can also make more informed choices about which crops to grow, which fertilizers to use, how to irrigate, and when to harvest. Once they have access to the Internet, many farmers in Africa soon stop growing low value subsistence crops like rice and maize, and switch to much higher value cash crops like mangoes and coffee, which are exported to Europe and the Middle East. Once they are growing crops that generate cashflow, they have access to credit, and can buy machinery, buy fertilizer, hire additional labor, and even buy out and consolidate neighboring farms.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Healthcare and family planning information too. Smaller, healthier families = less poverty.

      • I can see how that might work - in theory. In practice, is it really that easy to switch your crops (climate, soil composition, etc.)? Also... where would one of these farmers get the seed/starter crops to switch?

        Also what's interesting to me here is that - why do these farmers need the internet to do this? What about word of mouth? Why don't the European / Middle Eastern purchasers approach the farmers and say "hey, we want lower prices for these goods, let's cut out the middlemen and if you grow these c

      • by praxis ( 19962 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @01:18PM (#51042249)

        That is a very good answer to the question. The more general answer is "information" and "education" in all areas of life. The correlation between education and status growth is well studied and I'm surprised the question even had to be asked.

    • The correlation is probably the reverse of the one stated. With prosperity comes consumption of services, like internet access.

  • Knee-jerk bullshit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:20PM (#51038451) Journal

    You don't make a better world by dissipating capital.

    -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      You don't make a better world by dissipating capital.

      It depends on which definition of the word "dissipate" you are using. If it's the first definition, "to disperse, or scatter", then it absolutely makes the world a better place. If you use the second definition, "squander or fritter away", then maybe yes, maybe no. Economically, if Mark Zuckerberg's shares were turned into $100 bills and dropped from a helicopter, it would without a doubt improve the world more than having it remain as Facebook capital

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      Yes you do. If it stays locked up it is not free to circulate and enrich people. Money wants to circulate, it wants to be free.

      • Money "wants" nothing. It has no will of its own.

        What you maybe mean, and that would actually be correct, is that the velocity of the circulation of money is a very good indicator for the health of an economy system. The faster money moves, the better the economy is doing. Money being held back and hoarded is toxic for any kind of economy. Any. It needn't even be a free economy, even in a planned economy this will end in a disaster.

        Only money on the move generates revenue. Only when it exchanges hands, when

    • Hoarding real-estate and luxury goods while consuming mass quantities of energy (private jet travel, for instance) is dissipating capital.

      Focusing $44 Billion on specific programs can make a difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:27PM (#51038479)

    0. Sell 5% of FB stock. Hold profits for step 3.

    1. Destroy the data-mined profiles of people's lives that Facebook builds.

    2. Shut down Facebook.

    3. Use remainder of his fortune to fund a distributed, censorship-resistant, surveillance-resistant, easy to use social network not beholden to or run by data brokers.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      Or how about he gets clean drinking water to Haiti?

  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:32PM (#51038505)

    Or... you could pay Facebook's taxes with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vovin ( 12759 )

      Yeah .. so the government can fund critical programs. Like war on terror, war on drugs, and medicare and social security.
      Talk about pissing money down a rat hole.

      • So that's the justification behind tax dodging?

        How is that different from "But EA is a huge, faceless corporation making billions of dollars, who cares if one person rips a game?"

      • This is based on your bias and your beliefs. Some of us value Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. It's all subjective and I'm sure there are plenty of /.ers who think that we should never ever ever have any resemblance of a government, but there are plenty who would like to see government do some services that are currently being done, incompetently, by for-profit companies who are hell bent on sucking out every last penny from everyone they deal with.
  • by kriston ( 7886 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @11:39PM (#51038529) Homepage Journal

    He really has to do this. The company isn't growing anymore, and has not been growing for a while. All of the side projects and ostentatious giving is necessary to try to hype up this over-hyped stock. I'm sorry for FB fanboys, but this is the dark and honest truth.

    From a human standpoint, his commitment is amazing, much like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been and continues to be.

    I say, best of luck trying to keep FB "profitable."

    • by valnar ( 914809 )

      I agree. Dump it now while its worth something. Become the next Mark Cuban after he sold broadcast.com. He made his millions and can live comfortably now.

  • Cynicism (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 )

    I love how so many people posting here are so cynical.

    Personally I don't see why his motivations are hard to believe at all as they would be pretty much the same if I was in his shoes. No one on this planet needs to own more than a few million dollars, forget about billions.

    • You're absolutely right. Mark Zuckerberg could give away 99% of his Facebook shares and it would not affect his standard of living, or that of his children and grandchildren, one bit.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Personally I don't see why his motivations are hard to believe at all ...

      I see you have not used facebook, or know its history. When Larry and Sergey said "don't be evil", ... well, if facebook had existed back then, they would be looking at Zuckerberg. But then, Gates seems to have turned away from evil, and not spent _all_ his billions on a hollowed-out volcano.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      I'm not really seeing a lot of cynics questioning his sincerity at wanting to do something good with his money that outlasts his time on the planet. I think MANY people with a lot of money start considering these options, because you really can't take it with you. And it's a little depressing sometimes seeing the inanely stupid things wealth goes to in poorly thought out wills.

      Where I think people have valid reason to question him is with the whole "foundation" angle. Many people take issue with the Bill an

    • I like to believe if i had that kinda money id build the tallest building in the world, and make it my home lol
    • No one on this planet needs to own more than a few million dollars, forget about billions.

      He probably doesn't own even a few million dollars. What he owns is shares in companies, companies that produce useful stuff.

      Selling those shares and putting the money into non-profits is not necessarily good for society.

    • Unless there's some push to remove the avenue of using "charity" as a cover, there's a 99% certainty that it's just tax cheating.

  • Basically the only reason I'd want to have the burden of billions of dollars is to use them to try to make the world a better place.

  • curing disease when in the usa you may have to go to lockup to find a doctor that will see you as soon it will be very hard to find one that will take meadcade as that will be the best you can get with your mc job after an H1B takes you job.

  • By the time he's dead, what will 99% of his stock be worth? I'm guessing very, very, little. Yeah, right now it is still worth a lot, but that is because it is massively overvalued. It will eventually fade from popularity just like MySpace did and AOL did before that. I'd be more impressed if he said he was going to give away $44.5 billion.
  • Giving the money to non-profits is largely going to be a waste. Zuckerberg would do much better to pick another big commercial project and focus on that: space travel, asteroid mining, human cloning, nanotech, whatever.

    • Giving the money to non-profits is largely going to be a waste. Zuckerberg would do much better to pick another big commercial project and focus on that: space travel, asteroid mining, human cloning, nanotech, whatever.

      It's a fine idea, but it's missing a key ingredient: the drive and capability of the person spearheading the project.

      Mark is not well known as an innovator, a leader, or even a creator.

      I'm not saying that this is bad in any way, or that this is some sort of deficit in his character, I'm just saying that he's *probably* not the right person to pull off a big commercial project. Compare with Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson.

      And it's *highly* unlikely that he can find the right person to run such a ve

  • How much more progress could we make if we dedicated half of that money to research on batteries, nuclear power, solar power, space travel, stronger materials, or room temperature super conductivity?

    At least half of it should go to the sciences imo.
  • by ttsai ( 135075 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @02:27AM (#51039085)

    There's some truth to the premise of the movie "Brewster's Millions". After a certain point, spending money is not easy to do. If Zuckerberg is keeping half a billion to support his family, the other $45 billion won't make any difference to him. He can still live more extravagantly than most other multi-millionaires.

    By giving away what is basically his surplus, he gains positive publicity and maybe a bit of personal satisfaction. That's probably worth more to him than keeping the money in the bank. It wouldn't even affect his Forbes ranking since he has already said that he will still effectively control the donated Facebook stock.

    But I don't begrudge him his notion of philanthropy anymore than I begrudge the NBA stars their philanthropic foundations. They all get their publicity, tax benefits, etc. It's their money, so they get to decide what to do with it. The one criticism that I have is that I don't think much of Zuckerberg's priorities. Curing a widespread third-world disease like malaria a la Bill Gates is an impactful thing. Increasing internet access is not even a first-world problem and will do not much for people who worry about basic necessities. The one philanthropist that I really admire is Andrew Carnegie, who used his gifts to build over 2500 libraries in the world, many of which are still operating after a hundred years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      There's some truth to the premise of the movie "Brewster's Millions". After a certain point, spending money is not easy to do. If Zuckerberg is keeping half a billion to support his family, the other $45 billion won't make any difference to him. He can still live more extravagantly than most other multi-millionaires.

      By giving away what is basically his surplus, he gains positive publicity and maybe a bit of personal satisfaction. That's probably worth more to him than keeping the money in the bank. It wouldn't even affect his Forbes ranking since he has already said that he will still effectively control the donated Facebook stock.

      But I don't begrudge him his notion of philanthropy anymore than I begrudge the NBA stars their philanthropic foundations. They all get their publicity, tax benefits, etc. It's their money, so they get to decide what to do with it. The one criticism that I have is that I don't think much of Zuckerberg's priorities. Curing a widespread third-world disease like malaria a la Bill Gates is an impactful thing. Increasing internet access is not even a first-world problem and will do not much for people who worry about basic necessities. The one philanthropist that I really admire is Andrew Carnegie, who used his gifts to build over 2500 libraries in the world, many of which are still operating after a hundred years.

      He's not giving anything away. This is a 'donation' to his family 'charity'. In other words a way to get around the inheritance tax. It's not by accident that this decision comes just after having a child.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      There's some truth to the premise of the movie "Brewster's Millions". After a certain point, spending money is not easy to do. If Zuckerberg is keeping half a billion to support his family, the other $45 billion won't make any difference to him. He can still live more extravagantly than most other multi-millionaires.

      I think spending money is easier than you think. At one point when the Powerball lottery was at some big number, I put together a spreadsheet to see how easy/hard it would be to spend it, and found that I could spend it pretty easily. A private jet, like a G650 will set you back $65 million and that doesn't include hiring a flight crew or operational costs. Real estate is another place you can sink a lot of money.

      You do kind of have to throw out the kind of common sense thinking about money, though, and

  • If the Zuckerbergs give their money to organizations that help people directly, then good. But I wonder if they plan to give part of their money to lobbying organizations, including organizations that push for more immigration. From their letter to our daughter [facebook.com]:

    Can we build inclusive and welcoming communities?

    Can we nurture peaceful and understanding relationships between people of all nations?

    Can we truly empower everyone -- women, children, underrepresented minorities, immigrants and the unconnected?

    Maybe they mean just that and nothing more, but maybe they're preparing to push for freer immigration into the US.

  • Instead of creating charities against diseases, inequality and whatnot, as they all do, maybe one of these billionaires should finally invest into the stuff that will actually save humanity as a whole. Such as large-scale investment in renewable energy and other means of dealing with climate change. Or a Space Elevator to finally start opening the solar system for humanity.
    Estimated cost of a Space Elevator: 20 billion $. Zuckerberg alone could build two of them.

  • by areusche ( 1297613 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @06:03AM (#51039617)

    This always cracks me up how wage slaves erm people continually fall for this.

    Foundations are the biggest tax dodge ever. In fact, since Zuck is opening up a foundation he can "donate" his shares to an organization he wholly controls who can then sell that stock capital gains tax free. The best part is he can use that f*ck all amount as a tax write off on his future earnings as well.

    Then with whatever the obscene amount of money he can pay some small group of people to manage it. His daughter when she comes of age can then become a "director" or some other BS title and get paid $350,000 or more for the privilege of doing so. His family can then live off of this foundations free cash from being properly managed for the remainder of time. It's how the Rochefellers and Rothchilds continue their wealth without doing any real work.

    He's smart to be doing this now before the next big dip in the market which should be coming soon enough.

    • That's the real purpose. You know how conservatives alway say to get rid of the estate tax because the really rich can just avoid it but farmers and small business people get screwed? Well here is your example. Hundreds of billions that won't be taxed.

    • by vvaduva ( 859950 )

      Exactly. The slave world looks at this and is all giddy and in awe about the kindness of these people and how generous and amazing they are. When in reality they are just using the system to further their wealth and position in society.

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      In fact, since Zuck is opening up a foundation he can "donate" his shares to an organization he wholly controls who can then sell that stock capital gains tax free.

      And those gains will go to the foundation and the causes it supports, not to buying millionaire toys for Zuck.

      The best part is he can use that f*ck all amount as a tax write off on his future earnings as well.

      No, the basis for the write-off is the price paid for the property, not the appreciated price.

      His daughter when she comes of age can then become a "director" or some other BS title and get paid $350,000 or more for the privilege of doing so.

      And here $350,000 salary will be taxed like any other salary.

      Whenever money comes out of the trust, it either gets used for charitable purposes, or it gets taxed. And no, they cannot just let the capital sit there and appreciate forever. Charitable trusts are subject to minimum distribution requirements, so

  • by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @10:02AM (#51040541)

    In fact, it seems it isn't a charity at all:
    "Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability company - not a charity or charitable trust. Legal filings show that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is owned and controlled by Zuckerberg.

    A spokesperson has confirmed to Buzzfeed that as a company, the Initiative can spend its money on whatever it wants - including private, profit-generating investment."
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk]

  • That means that he will be stripped of his honors from being in the Three Comma club. No more cars with doors that open "like this" or "like this".

    Or does he have worth anywhere else?

  • Sure, he will give it all to a "foundation" that he and his progeny can live off of tax free in perpetuity just like Bill Gates while employing an army of public relations teams to amplify the tiny percentage of the wealth spent on others to huge levels.

    This is a win win for Z. He gets credit today for "giving it all away" without actually giving it all away today.

  • There is a difference between giving away your wealth and using your wealth to manipulate. Zuckerberg says that his goal is, “advancing human potential and promoting equality,” That's sounds suspitiously like manipulation, not almsgiving. It's just another way to use wealth to project, and even build, power. It might be a kindler and gentler way of doing it, but that's what it is.

    At any rate, the Zuckerbergs are very vague so far about what, precisely, they plan to do, so I suppose there is

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