How Mark Zuckerberg became the internet’s most powerful man –

As I write this, four of the top six apps on the iPhone’s store are Facebook-owned. Contrary to claims it is becoming old hat, people are using it more, not less: People spend 50 minutes a day – one in every 20 minutes awake – on either Facebook, Facebook Messenger or the company’s photo-sharing app Instagram, Zuckerberg said last week. This is without even counting WhatsApp, the world ‘s most popular messaging app.

Every time Zuckerberg has identified a threat, he has moved to meet it. In 2012, when Facebook was struggling to deal with the ascent of the smartphone, he bought Instagram, whose hockey stick moment was just approaching. Sensing the power of messaging, Facebook paid $19bn for WhatsApp two years later. The rise of smartphone-based video broadcasting has been led by Twitter’s Periscope app; Zuckerberg has made live video Facebook’s biggest priority this year.

Predicting what comes next is impossible, but when you have enough firepower, you don’t need a crystal ball. Facebook has a big hand in most the purported technologies of the next decade: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, chatbots. Some of these might never take off, but it won’t matter: Facebook will be involved in whatever does. At time it looks like the only thing that could slow it down is running out of internet to conquer, but don’t worry about that: it will soon be beaming internet to the ground from solar-powered drones.

Naturally, as a founder and chief executive, Zuckerberg is at the centre of this. But more so than normal. As he once again pleasing investors last week with the latest set of blowout results, Facebook proposed a share restructuring that saw the 31-year-old strengthen his control of shareholder voting power, letting him sell shares without losing power. There’s no chance of investors voting the proposal down at next month’s AGM, that is, unless Zuckerberg votes against himself.


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