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Zuckerberg’s shine dims as guardian of Facebook users

Zuckerberg cemented his fortune, and a place in Silicon Valley history, by leading Facebook to a historic Wall Street debut in 2012.

The $16 billion IPO was structured to keep control of Facebook in the hands of Zuckerberg, who has been Time’s “Person of the Year” and cracked the Forbes list of 20 richest people in the world.

The hoodie-wearing 33-year-old, depicted in the Hollywood drama “The Social Network” as a socially challenged computer geek, has evolved into a confident chief executive.

Zuckerberg still favors t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, topped off by his trademark hooded sweatshirt and a mop of curly hair.

He is known for setting annual goals, which have included wearing ties every day; only eating meat of animals he kills himself; and learning to speak Chinese.

His personal goal this year is to fix Facebook, making sure it fosters real-world community.

– ‘Thefacebook’ –

Born on May 14, 1984, Zuckerberg was raised in Dobbs Ferry outside New York, one of four children of a dentist father and a psychiatrist mother.

He began writing computer programs at the age of 11, including one said to resemble Pandora’s musical taste program which reportedly drew the interest of AOL and Microsoft.

He went to high school at the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, where he was captain of the fencing team, before entering elite Harvard University.

Zuckerberg launched Thefacebook.com, as it was then known, from his dorm room on February 4, 2004 with some of his roommates and classmates.

Facebook’s early years were not without controversy, however.

In 2008, a $65 million settlement was reached with three Harvard classmates — twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra — over their charges that Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from them.

The conflict was at the heart of “The Social Network,” the Oscar-winning film written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher.

Zuckerberg left Harvard in May 2004 for Silicon Valley, where he received his first major funding — $500,000 — from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

He has been referred to by some as being struck in the mold of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Zuckerberg has praised Jobs as a friend and a role model.

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