At just 27, Harvard dropout and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is worth an estimated $17.5 billion, running a company used by over half a billion people worldwide, and has been the subject of a Hollywood movie about his life. This Sunday he is also the subject of a BBC Two documentary.
1984 – Born in White Plains, New York, the only son of a dentist and psychiatrist (he has three sisters).
2002 – Graduates from Phillips Exeter Academy, a private school in New Hampshire; joins Harvard University in autumn on a psychology and computer science course.
2003 – Launches Facemash – a web programme enabling Harvard students to compare images of same-gender students and rate the more attractive – and nearly gets kicked out when its immediate popularity draws the attention of the university administrators.
2004 – Starts Thefacebook.com in February.
2004 – Drops out of Harvard at the end of his sophomore year; moves to Palo Alto that summer, where he rents a house with a now-famous swimming pool (and zip-wire).
2004 – Facebook hits 200,000 users; contacts venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and receives an initial investment of half a million dollars – some of which is used to splash out on a small office above a Chinese restaurant
2004 – The Winklevoss twins file a lawsuit against Zuckerberg claiming he ripped off their idea for a new social network, HarvardConnection (later ConnectU).
2005 – Facebook hits 5 million users.
2006 – At 22 years of age, Zuckerberg turns down an estimated $1 billion dollar offer for Facebook from Yahoo.
2007 – Opens Facebook beyond universities so anyone with an email address can join; turns down a $15 billion offer from Microsoft, which would have bagged him personally $4 billion.
2007 – Allows independent developers to write programmes for Facebook; but is forced to apologise when Beacon, a controversial new addition to Facebook allowing users to view what their friends have been buying online, raises major complaints over privacy intrusion.
2008 – Reaches a settlement with Winklevoss lawsuit worth $65 million, though still denies any intellectual property theft.
2009 – China blocks domestic access to Facebook.
2010 – Named Time magazine’s person of the year.
2010 – Hollywood movie The Social Network is released documenting Zuckerberg’s time at Harvard and the early days of Facebook.
2011 – Appears on Saturday Night Live along with host Jesse Eisenberg, who played him in the film.
2011 – Facebook records half a billion users on Facebook in a single day, and is expected to report $4 billion dollars revenue, double that of the previous year.
2012 – Facebook projected to reach 1 billion users; a much-mooted stock market flotation would be expected to earn as much as $100 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg: Inside Facebook is on BBC Two on Sunday 4 December.