Mark Zuckerberg makes plenty of noise whenever Facebook spends a few million on a new acquisition, and it seems his personal purchases are no different. Neighbours have dubbed the Facebook founder’s £6.1m San Francisco home “Fort Zuckerberg”, after seeing the 1920s property transformed into a loud, sprawling construction site.
The work got underway shortly after Mr Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr Priscilla Chan, bought the house in the city’s hip Mission neighbourhood in early 2013 – and is expected to go on until at least the spring next year. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, as many as 40 or 50 labourers have been on the site every day for the past 17 months, using construction equipment as they completely refurbish the interior, and tear up the pavement outside to install fibre-optic cable demanded by the 30-year-old billionaire.
The site is being monitored by 24-hour security staff and CCTV, and the work has also caused parking chaos: four or five coveted spaces are officially reserved for construction vehicles, preventing some residents from parking outside their own properties. One neighbour, Trafton Bean, told CBS San Francisco he had witnessed young people sitting overnight in cars in other spaces. When asked, Mr Bean claimed, the people admitted they were hired by Mr Zuckerberg to save the extra spaces for construction vehicles.
Mr Zuckerberg and his wife have reportedly taken out 10 permits for the modifications to the property, including $750,000 for a rear extension. They are also spending $720,000 on an office, media room, half bathroom, mudroom, laundry room, wine room and wet bar, as well as remodelling the upper floors.
It is costing $25,000 to make the top, fourth, floor of the house legally habitable, and to turn part of the roof into a balcony. Another permit points to a $65,000 refurbishment of the kitchen and six bathrooms. The garage is being fitted with a turntable to make it easier for cars to get in and out.
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
Around 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, with the site estimating in September last year that users had so far put up more than 250 billion images. That’s 4,000 photos uploaded every second and around 4 per cent of all photos ever taken, according to a study by Nokia.
Facebook’s logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colour blind. “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue," said Zuckerberg in an interview with the New Yorker. The colour is so popular that Facebook’s campus store even sells nail polish in the exact shade named ‘social butterfly blue’.
Zuckerberg's famously low-key wardrobe (either a grey t-shirt or a hoodie) is so that the CEO saves time deciding what to wear each day. However, Zuckerberg is known to dress up when the occasion demands it. For a 2011 event with Barack Obama he showed up in a suit, with the president introducing himself by saying: “I’m Barack Obama and I’m the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie.”
In July 2006 Zuckerberg turned down a $1 billion offer for the site from Yahoo. He was 22 years old at the time and owned 25 per cent of the company. Zuckerberg reportedly turned it down by saying “I don't know what I could do with the money. I'd just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have.” He definitely made the right choice: Facebook is now valued at $135 billion.
A YouGov poll claimed that three-quarter of UK Facebook users' photos showed someone drinking or inebriated. However, the poll did ask users to estimate the number of boozy snaps themselves, and like all things on Facebook, there might have been an element of exaggeration involved.
Facebook operates a bounty hunter program – for bugs. Like many other big technology companies Facebook offers cash rewards to security researchers who point out flaws in the site’s code. The minimum payout is $500 and the largest prize to date has been $33,500.
More than a third of divorce filings in 2011 referenced Facebook, said a survey from UK-based legal firm Divorce Online. The exact figures may be an estimate, but with just under 8 trillion Facebook messages sent in 2013 it’s certain that a substantial body of evidence is to be found on the social network.
Zuckerberg isn’t much of a Twitter fan. Despite having nearly three hundred thousand followers on the service he’s only tweeted 19 times - once in 2012 and the rest in 2009. Although Facebook dwarfs twitter in terms of active users (1 billion compared with 200 million by some accounts) the micro-blogging site handles breaking news better. Facebook has introduced trending topics and hashtags to counter this.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Iceland decided to rewrite their constitution using Facebook to solicit suggestions from citizens. Unfortunately, despite this forward thinking approach, the document was killed by politicians in mid-2013 for various (mostly technical) reasons.
You can browse Facebook upside down. Facebook currently supports more than 70 different languages – including English (Pirate) and English (Upside Down). Check the bottom of the column on the right of your newsfeed and click your current language to change!
The site is symbolic of the ongoing tensions between existing San Francisco residents and the newly wealthy technology workers who commute to Silicon Valley. While some neighbours complained anonymously to the Chronicle about the disruption, they were reluctant to get into a public battle with the Facebook CEO. One told the paper, “It’s hard to talk about it without sounding whiny or like the wealthy need to be punished, just because they have money.”
The house is a second home for Mr Zuckerberg, who spends the majority of his time at a $7m mansion in Palo Alto, closer to Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters, which he bought in 2011. That five-bedroom property features a spa, an outdoor “entertainment pavilion”, a salt water swimming pool and a “naturalised pond with waterfall,” according to its estate agent listing. Last year, prompted by privacy concerns, the Zuckerbergs spent upwards of $30m on the four homes that surround their Palo Alto property, after learning a property developer planned to buy one of them and publicise it to buyers as being next-door to the Facebook boss.Reuse content