As it emerges Mark Zuckerberg probably won't donate $45billion to charity, a reminder Facebook probably pays less tax than you

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Wednesday 02 December 2015 11:30
Science and Tech

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have had a healthy baby girl, whom they've named Max.

In an open letter to his newborn daughter posted on his Facebook page last night, Zuckerberg said that he and Chan have decided to give away 99 per cent of their shares (worth $45billion) over their lifetimes to charitable causes to mark Max's entry into the world.

Zuckerberg wrote:

Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today. Your mother and I don't yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future...

You've already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.

The couple are using the money to start the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, which aims to "advance human potential and promote equality.”

Its work will primarily focus on personalised learning, fighting disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

While Zuckerberg has already donated more than $1billion to charity, some of his previous forays into philanthropy have been criticised as courting favourable media coverage, ineffectual, and for being focused on Facebook's user base.

Since all the money is going to Zuckerberg's own foundation (which is listed as an LLC, not a charity) rather than third party charities, there are worries about overlap between the foundation and private sector profit too. As Gawker puts it:

“Micro-schools”? Putting Facebook software in public schools? Software, software, more software. If you have a headache, take a software. Jimmy can’t read? Give him software.

It's also been pointed out that Zuckerberg could have started giving back to society by paying his taxes properly.

The UK arm of Facebook paid just £4,327 in tax to the Treasury in the last financial year, despite revenues of £105m in the UK and £2.9bn overall in the US.

More: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is going to take paternity leave

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