The downshift marks the first time since 2015 that the Meta CEO is no longer in the top ten list of richest Americans. He currently has the No. 11 spot on The Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the country.
The seismic shift in fortunes for the man who built the lion’s share of his wealth by founding the then-little-known start-up of Facebook back in 2004 arrives after a staggering year of losses. According to Forbes, Mr Zuckerberg has lost $76.8bn since September of last year, accounting for more than half of his riches.
In his heyday as third richest person on planet Earth, Mr Zuckerberg was estimated to have a net worth of $81.6bn, a ranking that placed him ahead of billionaire Warren Buffet and 2018’s then-first and second richest tech titans on the planet – Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
In the four years since those rankings were announced, the entrepreneurs that dominate various top ten lists have continued to ebb and flow. The two aforementioned titans now rank one slot lower on the Forbes US billionaires list after Tesla founder Elon Musk.
Despite being plagued by controversies in both his personal and professional life – such as the ongoing Twitter takeover debacle that will see him answer questions under oath in an upcoming October trial – the Space X CEO can credit his good year to an 11 per cent jump in Tesla stock and funding for his space endeavours.
Forbes says he is now estimated to have a net worth of $251bn, a sum he reached after accruing an additional $60.5bn in 2022.
Zuckerberg, who the publication notes has lost more money over the past year than any other American, can credit his downturn in fortune to the tumbling of Meta stocks, where a majority of his wealth lies.
Though the stock market’s collapse has knocked out the knees of many tech billionaires – bringing many billionaires’ wealth down by nearly a quarter – no one in Silicon Valley has been quite as hurt as the Facebook founder.
Partially to blame for this drop in fortune was the founder’s own choice to pivot away from its bread-and-butter label – Facebook – and rebrand as Meta with a recommitment and reshuffling of resources to build out the much-anticipated metaverse.
Since last year, when Zuckerberg changed the name of the company, Meta stocks have lost about 60 per cent of its value.
Another factor is that advertising revenue, which was once effortlessly extracted from his mainstay social media platform, Facebook, is not so easily tapped anymore. This has become particularly heightened since Apple iOS 14 changes made it increasingly difficult for advertisers to track potential customers, posing a serious problem for Zuckerberg bottom line as the company relies heavily on selling specific user data.
Other American billionaires who managed to race ahead of Zuckerberg this year and land in the top ten zone were Walmart heir Jim Walton ($57.9bn), Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page ($89bn and $93bn, respectively) and ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ($83bn).
The annual Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the US relies on stock prices from 2 September.