Internet mocks Mark Zuckerberg's philanthropy in letter to daughter

Oliver Twist

Billionaire, social network founder and, once upon a time, everyone’s unsolicited friend on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg added two more titles to his name on Tuesday.

A newborn daughter made him a father and an open letter announcing he would give away 99% of his Facebook stock made him a man destined for several awkward years after his daughter learns to read.

In the open letter to his daughter Max, Zuckerberg describes how he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, plan to found the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a foundation that will center around “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities”.

The letter spans more than 2,000 words and is rife with emphatic declarations about the state of the world. “Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting,” Zuckerberg assures his daughter, along with the peculiar assertion that “medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years”.

The family’s noble aims and sparkling prose notwithstanding, the internet received the Zuckberg-Chan announcement with the bemusement, snark and enthusiasm usually found under a surprise Facebook post by that couple who met at a fraternity party and then lost touch with all the friends they had in college.

The throngs of Twitter reacted with snark, net worth, allusions to a charity invented by a sitcom character.

The Guardian’s staffers reacted as well:

Vanity Fair reacted with a wry open letter to Max that rewrites the original open letter and narrates a video posted by the Zuckerberg clan.

Dear Max,

Your mother, Priscilla Chan, and father, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, almost didn’t “yet have the words” when they announced your birth to 42 million followers, but they somehow managed to write you a 2,200-word letter and post it to Facebook anyway.

They are full of hope for you – for “your promise”, for a life filled with happiness and health, and for the fact that your arrival gave them a slightly more personal way to announce their new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. …

So you may not be the billionaire heiress of the Valley that the tabloids dreamed you’d be. But you will have a lot of time at home with your dad, at least at first, as he vowed not long before you were born to take two months of paternity leave

Most important, you’ll have an endless – storied, even – collection of hoodies in which to laze about your house. You sort of hit the parental jackpot.

And at least one person did what young Max, for better or for worse, may never quite manage to do.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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