Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may be planning to give away almost all of his stock in the company, but that doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere.
“I plan on being involved in running Facebook for a very long time,” he said during Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting Monday. He was asked if he plans to take on a role similar to Bill Gates at Microsoft, focusing on charity while keeping ties with the organization.
His response received applause from shareholders.
At the event, Facebook shareholders agreed to create a new class of nonvoting stock that ensured Zuckerburg would remain in a leadership position even though he and his wife Priscilla Chan plan to give 99 percent of their shares in the company, valued at $45 billion, to charitable causes. He controls more than 60 percent of Facebook’s voting power, according to San Jose Mercury News’ tech blog Silicon Beat.
Shareholders also re-elected all of Facebook’s board members, including controversial early investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He has made headlines for secretly funding a successful lawsuit against Gawker Media brought by Hulk Hogan. Thiel paid for lawyers to find people who had been hurt by Gawker’s coverage. In 2007, a Gawker site outed Thiel as being gay.
Following these votes, Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives laid out some of the company’s goals over the next few years. Zuckerberg said Facebook has approximately 1.65 billion monthly active users.
“I look at that and think we have 5 billion people left to connect,” he said.
Over the next three years, Facebook wants to improve its core social network. Over the next five years, Facebook envisions a big role for other pieces of its business like Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. Facebook wants users to be able to do things like make reservations at restaurants or ask companies questions about their products over WhatsApp or Messenger.
Facebook’s long-term goal involves doing everything it can to make sure everyone has access to affordable, reliable internet. Zuckerberg said every decade or so, a computing revolution comes along, whether that is the desktop computer, internet or smartphones. Facebook wants the next big thing to emphasize social connections and getting as many people online as possible.
“If this is something we invest in as a company, it will not only be very good for the world … over the long term it will be valuable for our business as well to be able to build a larger community,” Zuckerberg said.