Facebook shares: what’s behind Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘hacker philanthropy’?

The tech billionaire was already one of the essential figures of our age. Now, with his $45bn pledge, he’s being seen as a generational Superman. But does a state-like level of spending run the risk of making him a ‘chequebook dictator’?

Mark Zuckerberg drives a Volkswagen Golf. He pays himself an annual salary of a dollar. In 2006, at the age of 22, he turned down a billion times that for Facebook. In 2010, when his then-girlfriend (now wife) Priscilla Chan moved in to his home, he posted an update offering their crockery and appliances because they had “2x everything”. He dresses in grey T-shirts and hoodies.

As quiet a life as Zuckerberg and Chan lead in some respects, they are in others fairly conspicuous. And on Tuesday they took an extraordinary action in the most visible way possible. Via an open letter to their new daughter Max (posted, obviously, on Facebook) the Chan Zuckerbergs announced that they would be donating 99% of their Facebook shares to charity during their lifetime. A missive featuring a bullet-pointed mission statement and the phrase “personalised learning tools” may lack the gooey warmth that little Max might have been entitled to expect, but no one can deny its potential impact: at current values, the family’s donation is worth more than $45bn.

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The playlist: hip-hop – Junglepussy, Wiki, Tink and more

Junglepussy’s free album could be one of 2015’s best, Wiki unleashes a track from Lil Me, Tink kicks you to the kerb and A$AP Rocky’s out to lunch

Junglepussy’s free album is a late contender for one of the best hip-hop releases of 2015. Distorted vocals are accompanied by lines about making porn to watch while eating popcorn. It’s unlike anything that’s come out this year and builds on Junglepussy’s reputation as one of Brooklyn’s best rappers.

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Uber backed by competition watchdog in TfL regulation battle

Competition and Markets Authority says nine of 25 proposals put forward by Transport for London to regulate taxi trade would be bad for customers

Uber has been given a boost in its attempts to stave off proposed changes to regulating the taxi trade in London, after the competition authority said the reforms would not serve the public interest.

Transport for London (TfL) is consulting on a range of requirements for licensed hire cars, after advances in technology, and particularly the advent of Uber, challenged rules governing the traditional black cab industry.

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Givers that keep on giving: who are the world’s top philanthropists

Mark Zuckerberg has joined a club of charitable billionaires who have given away large amounts of their money. We take a look at some of them

Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to donate $45bn of Facebook shares to charity makes him the latest in a long line of US business moguls who have given away large chunks of their fortunes.

The tradition dates back to the founding fathers of the US and includes both the illustrious and infamous of the US super rich. Universities, museums, cures for disease and programmes to combat poverty have all been set up with the proceeds of business empires.

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Will Zuckerberg and Chan’s $45bn pledge change philanthropy?

Today’s tech billionaires blur the line between philanthropist and entrepreneur. Time will tell if Facebook’s CEO and his wife will succeed in doing good – but by then they might have changed the act of giving forever

It seems fitting that on the day that the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History unveiled its Giving in America exhibit — with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett presiding — Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, and his wife Priscilla Chan, made a claim for the inauguration of a new chapter in the history of philanthropy, one dominated by the mushrooming fortunes of Silicon Valley.

In a post on Facebook to their newborn daughter Max, the couple announced that they would turn over 99% of their Facebook shares — with a current value of around $45bnn — “during our lives” to advance a mission of “advancing human potential and promoting equality for all children in the next generation”. This is a big deal, one of the largest philanthropic pledges ever made. But how much of a rupture it represents in the tradition of modern US philanthropy isn’t entirely clear. The Smithsonian might not need to add another display case just yet.

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