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Facebook shares decline, Mark Zuckerberg halts stock sales

Facebook-shares-decline-Mark-Zuckerberg-halts-stock-sales

The social media giants’ co-founder didn’t sell a single share in the fourth quarter, as the company’s stock tumbled 20% amid a broader market rout

This made it the first quarter in more than two years he’s refrained from doing the same, according to Bloomberg data.

Zuckerberg had stated in September 2017 that he would unload 35-75mn Facebook shares over the following 18 months as part of a pledge to give away almost all of his fortune during his lifetime. Since then, he’s sold about 30.5mn shares worth roughly $5.6bn.

The transactions have been scheduled in advance with a so-called 10b5-1 trading plan, which can include parameters such as price or volume limits. Vanessa Chan, a spokeswoman for the Menlo Park, California-based company, declined to comment further.

Facebook shares have dropped about 38% from a record $218.62 on July 25 as the firm faced mounting criticism over its handling of user data and content policing. According to Zuckerberg, these issues will take years to fix. The decline shaved $32.7bn from his net worth as of Wednesday’s close, dropping him to #7 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a listing of the world’s richest people.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be a limited liability company controlled by the social media magnate and his wife, Priscilla, 33, rather than a charitable trust. That means they will both be able to make philanthropic investments and back political causes. The entity aims to decrease inequality and build technology to spur change, partly through investments in health and education.

Overall, senior executives and directors of Facebook, Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. sold about $7.1bn of stock last year, the most since 2016, when they disposed of $10.7 bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That excludes shares that were gifted or sold to cover taxes.

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