Mark Zuckerberg has lost $70 billion in 2022 after metaverse leap
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's personal worth has eroded by a whopping $71 billion dollars in 2022 alone, the most for any billionaire as tracked by Bloomberg. Zuckerberg's mighty fall is not just attributed to market factors and has put the spotlight back on his company's pivot to the metaverse.
Last year, amidst the high scrutiny on the whistleblower complaints at Facebook, CEO Zuckerberg announced his company's decision to focus on building the next big thing on the internet, the metaverse. This announcement was accompanied by a major rebranding of the company to Meta and a surge of interest in the metaverse.
Interesting Engineering reported multiple instances of big brands jumping into the fray to mark their presence in the metaverse. Real estate deals in this digital world scaled new heights, and everybody was excited about this new beginning.
But what about Meta?
Zuckerberg's Meta move may have kickstarted a new topic of discussion on the internet and even made some money for other companies in this space. For Meta itself, though, the move hasn't reaped many benefits.
For instance, numbers released by Meta earlier this year showed that it lost $10 billion in the last quarter of 2021 alone in its attempts to build the metaverse. This was just the beginning of the mammoth task the company was aiming to undertake, and the markets reacted strongly, slashing the company's valuation by $200 billion in just one afternoon.
The quarterly results had also shown that the company's flagship product Facebook had begun to lose users for the first time in its 18-year-old history, in spite of all the hype that the metaverse had created.
Spotlight on the metaverse pivot
Since the beginning of 2022, stock markets have remained rather volatile amidst fears of a looming recession. Meta's peers in the tech world aren't doing so great, either. Apple, the global leader in company valuation, has seen its stock price reduced by 14 percent, Amazon's stock price is down 26 percent, while Google's parent company Alphabet has seen a 29 percent erosion of its valuation.
Yet, Meta stands out from the rest, having lost 57 percent of its valuation. Zuckerberg holds 350 million shares of the company, and since most of his wealth is tied up in the company stock, the founder and CEO has also seen his personal fortune dip significantly.
Two years ago, Zuckerberg was worth $106 billion, and as the Facebook stock climbed to its all-time high of $382 in September last year, the size of the personal fortune increased to $142 billion, the Bloomberg report said.
In the past year, Zuckerberg has lost 14 places on Bloomberg's Billionaires List and is now sitting at position 20, somewhere he hasn't seen since 2014. Experts at Bloomberg believe that this misfortune is largely down to the company's virtual reality adventure, without which it would likely have stayed in line with Alphabet's drop in stock price.
Spinning off businesses like WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which were acquired by the company, could help Meta in the long run, the experts say. Others think it is down to leadership at Meta, which either needs a reset or a complete overhaul. Otherwise, the company is doomed to fail.
Amazon maintains that employees and robots will continue to collaborate within its warehouses, however, according to specialists in robotics, the business may eventually be able to rely on robots to carry out much of the jobs that it currently delegates to human workers.