Mark Zuckerberg to earn $700M annually from Meta dividend amid child safety backlash

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By Dan Sears

Mark Zuckerberg will earn $700 million per year through Meta’s new quarterly dividend – an astronomical payout announced just one day after he faced outrage on Capitol Hill over a failure to protect children from online sex abuse and exploitation.

The 39-year-old tech tycoon’s payday stems from Meta’s plans disclosed late Thursday to pay a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per share of common stock beginning this March.

Since Zuckerberg owns about 350 million shares, he will rake in approximately $175 million per fiscal quarter before taxes, according to Bloomberg data – or $700 million annually.

The company also announced $50 billion in stock buybacks. Meta shares swelled more than 16% in premarket trading Friday — a stock move that stands to send Zuckerberg’s wealth soaring by tens of billions of dollars more on Friday.

The windfall could further enrage critics who have argued for years that he has prioritized profits over child safety on Facebook and Instagram – despite warnings that kids are bombarded with disturbing content on topics like suicide and anorexia and disgusting messages from alleged predators.

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Meta representatives did not immediately return a request for comment.

As of Friday morning, Zuckerberg ranked as the world’s fifth-richest person with an estimated net worth of $142 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His wealth has increased by more than $14 billion since the start of this year alone.

Zuckerberg apologized to the families of victims of online abuse and exploitation. Allison Bailey/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

The dividend amounts to a major surge in pay for Zuckerberg – who received $27.1 million in compensation in 2022, according to the most recent available disclosures. Much of that sum was tied to personal security costs, since his base salary is just $1.

Zuckerberg faced hours of harsh attacks from a Senate panel earlier this week – with Sen. Lindsey Graham declaring that Meta had products that were “killing people” and Sen. Dick Durbin referring to the problem of online child exploitation a “crisis in America.”

During one particularly heated segment with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, an embattled Zuckerberg surprised the room after he stood up from his seat, turned to face the parents of victims in the audience and apologized, stating: “No one should go through the things that your families have suffered.”

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The parents of kids who were harmed or took their lives over online sex abuse were in attendance during the Senate hearing. Michael Brochstein/ZUMA Press Wire / SplashNews.com

Critics were not convinced by the surprise apology. New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez – whose state is suing Meta and Zuckerberg for failing to protect kids from alleged sex predators – blasted the mea culpa as “too little, too late” in an interview with The Post.

Meta has touted its efforts to improve online safety — including billions in spending on platform security and the rollout last month of features blocking underage users from receiving direct messages from strangers.

Meta revealed plans to pay out its first-ever dividend after a blowout quarter in which the social media giant beat Wall Street’s expectations for revenue and more than tripled its earnings compared to one year ago.

Meta will begin paying out dividends in March. AFP via Getty Images

The company’s profits have swelled since Zuckerberg’s ordered a companywide cost-cutting push. Meta’s global headcount was 67,317 as of Dec. 31, a decrease of 22% from the previous year, according to company filings.

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