Zuckerberg cuts pay to $1 a year as Facebook loses UK users

Mark Zuckerberg has cut his own pay to $1, taking most of his compensation in shares, as Facebook begins to lose users in the US and UK.

Mark Zuckerberg has volunteered to cut his salary to $1 and will not be receiving a bonus this year, as -- coincidentally -- Facebook's users begin to fall for the first time in the UK and US.

In the last month alone UK users have fallen by 1.4 million, or 4.5 per cent, according to unofficial figures from analyst firm SocialBakers, quoted in The Guardian. The US has seen a similar flop, with 6 million users (4 per cent) deserting the service. It's a sharply accelerating trend, with the site enjoying 2 million fewer UK users than six months ago, and 9 million fewer in the US.

The site is still seeing bumper growth in developing countries such as Brazil and India, but a decline in users in its most profitable markets must be of concern to the company.

M-Zuck, meanwhile, joins the $1 club, whose past members  include such luminaries as Apple's Steve Jobs and Google's Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, Business Insider reports.

Considering that the Facebook co-founder sold 60 million stock options last year, worth a not-inconsiderable $2.3bn, and according to Forbes, is worth $13.3bn, he isn't exactly going to be hard-up.

Last year he received a salary of $500,000, along with a hefty $266,101 bonus. In 2015 he can flog another 60 million stock options. He also maintains his controlling stake in Facebook with 486 million shares. Not bad for a 28-year-old.

But money doesn't seem of much concern to Zuckerberg, who once said, "We don't wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money." Even before he went to college, he turned down serious cash from both Microsoft and AOL, who wanted to buy MP3 software he invented.

The vast majority of Zuckerberg's income comes from stocks rather than salary -- to incentivise him to keep its share price high -- so taking a cut to his monthly paycheque isn't much of a blow. Facebook has to pay him something for him to still be classed as an employee, and legally serve as CEO, hence why he is being paid $1 rather than nothing. It's also worth noting that the tax on shares is far lower than that on salary, which may also play a role in his decision.

Could this be the latest in a series of challenges he undertakes each year? In 2011 he famously said he would only eat meat from animals he killed , while previous challenges included learning Mandarin in 2010 and wearing a tie every day in 2009.

With the $499,999 he is missing out on this year, Zuckerberg could buy 2.5 million Freddo bars, 500 Google Glasses, 1,253 iPads or 83,333 copies of The Social Network on Blu-ray.

Do you Like Mark Zuckerberg's decision? Or will you be de-friending the poor schmuck? Pay us a visit in the comments or on our impecunious Facebook page.

Additional reporting by Alex Calvin.

 

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