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Op-Ed: Mark Zuckerberg giving 99% share of Facebook to charity

By Dawn Denmar     Dec 2, 2015 in Internet
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan celebrate the birth of baby daughter Max in style and with novelty — the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative using 99 percent of their current shares in Facebook with a value of $45bn (£30bn) today.
The Chan-Zuckerberg birth was announced on December 1, 2015, although their daughter Max was born last week. The couple have announced the shares will not be released to their foundation immediately but during the course of their lifetimes. The staggered release of the Facebook shares could potentially increase the current valuation of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative even more.
Mr Zuckerberg said yesterday that they decided to donate the majority of their current wealth to the Initiative because they wanted their daughter Max to grow up in a better world. This is a wonderful gesture from young parents who wish to celebrate the birth of their first born child in a tangible fashion. The announcement came by way of a letter to his daughter on her newly created Facebook page. He said the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative was formed: "to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation." At the outset the Initiative will focus upon areas such as curing disease, personalised learning, connecting people and the building of strong communities.
It has been said that Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Chan will gift no more than $1bn shares per year for the next three years, with further staged releases to be announced. Users of Facebook, particularly the young and people in the 20 to 35 years age bracket, will be inspired by the charity gifting from an entrepreneur who has built substantial wealth upon the 2004 creation of the social networking site.
It's not unusual for Internet giants and millionaires to gift wealth to charitable foundations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 2006 and is committed to unlocking individual potential for peoples from around the globe. Austrian millionaire Kurt Rabeder sold his furnishings business in 2010 alongside all his material possessions and gave his entire fortune to charities in South America and Latin America. He could not reconcile the difference between his massive collection of material possessions and the poverty he saw in some countries he traveled.
Today, as the UK Parliament discusses sending bombers to Syria to combat Daesh, as the Climate Conference takes place in Paris, it could be said the world is teetering on the brink of another disaster that could develop in directions we cannot anticipate. The United Nations have called for missions in Syria to continue to attempt the annihilation of ISIS/IS/Daesh, and a recent speech by President Obama highlighted the likelihood of further wars as nations fight over dwindling resources and other reasons. The climate change debate has focused upon the likelihood of global warming increasing to levels where humanity will find this planet becomes a hostile environment.
The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is praiseworthy, however, Mr Zuckerberg's activities with his Facebook venture are highly likely to have given him and his colleagues a global perspective of people and society which most people may not appreciate. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has complained to the US Federal Trade Commission that Google has been collecting the personal data of schoolchildren from equipment within schools such as Chromebooks and Google apps for Education tools. The Internet and the plethora of Internet-enabled devices that can be accessed by mankind has grown tremendously over the past few decades, but whether our new "toy" will enable mankind to grow in stature or languish in a world that could be said to be hurtling towards self destruct remains to be seen.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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