Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune surpassed $100bn (£76bn) for the first time on Thursday, joining the ranks of Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates and Amazon (AMZN) boss Jeff Bezos as one of three “centibillionaires” in the world.
The Facebook (FB) founder’s wealth has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with increased Facebook engagement in lockdown collecting more than $5bn in profit and boosting share prices by 65% since March 23 to a high of $245 per share. This alone has added about $22bn to Zuckerberg’s wealth since late April.
The company’s growth revenue declined, only gaining 11% compared to 25% the four previous quarters, but was well above analyst’s expectations of just 3%.
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Facebook’s share rose again by 6% on Thursday as Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, on Wednesday rolled out the US version TikTok competitor Reels — a short-form video feature that allows users to make short, looped videos with music and special effects. The feature was launched in Brazil in November 2019.
"Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools," the company said in a blog post about the new Instagram feature.
This is perfect timing for Instagram and Zuckerberg, which TikTok’s 100 million US users potentially up for grab as president Donald Trump seeks to ban the hit Chinese app if it isn’t bought by a US firm. However, parent company ByteDance is currently in talks to sell its US, Canada, Australian and New Zealand business to Microsoft.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg said banning Tik Tok in the US would “set a really bad long-term precedent” for companies in countries around the world, with Facebook products potentially becoming targets at some point in the future.
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