Zuckerberg did not donate his shares to charity

Facebook's Zuckerberg - Wikimedia CommonsFacebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg appeared to have convinced the world that his Facebook billions were destined for charity last week.

The press was full of stories about how Zuckerburg was so moved by the birth of his child that he was effectively doing a Bill Gates and donating most of his shares to a charity which would be dedicated to building a better future for the by-product of his nocturnal poke.

But this week calmer heads have been looking at what Zuckerburg and his missus have actually done and it does not look like there is going to be much change for the world that the sprog will grow up in after all.

According to the New York Times, Zuckerberg and Mrs Zuckerberg did not set up a charitable foundation, which has non-profit status.

Instead they created a limited liability company which effectively moved money from one of his bulky pockets to another.

This company might make socially responsible investments, but they all say they do that anyway. It can make political donations, lobby for changes in the law, but is totally free to do what Zuckerberg is doing now. In short it ain’t a charity.

For a start, a charity is subject to rules and oversight and has to allocate a certain percentage of its assets every year, to er charity work. Zuckerberg’s will not have to and can even operate in total secrecy. He could, if he wished, invest in a scheme to make a quick buck from global warming and encourage polar bear genocide and no one would be any the wiser.

It turns out there are some tax advantages too not to mention huge PR returns every time Zuckerberg’s new outfit invests in something which might be good for the planet.