Mark Zuckerberg lost $17B amid Facebook controversies

Mark Zuckerberg has lost a whopping $17.3 billion so far this year, due to new controversies involving Facebook and how it handled Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook shares slid 3 percent on Friday to $139.53, the lowest since April 2017. Zuckerberg also lost his place as the world’s third-richest person – behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates – and is now ranked sixth on the The Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The news follows a troubling week for Facebook.

On Wednesday, The New York Times published a shocking report that detailed alleged tactics by the company to “delay, deflect and deny” any scrutiny over widespread Russian disinformation and the increasing spread of hate speech.

Facebook officials denied numerous allegations made in the Times piece, which alleged that the company’s leadership was not fast enough to address the growing menace of fake news, all while it neglected to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and attempted to discredit its critics, often by linking them to liberal activist George Soros, a frequent target of anti-Semitic attacks, through Definers Public Affairs.

The social media giant on Wednesday said it would sever ties with the Washington-based public relations firm, acknowledging that Definers did “encourage members of the press to look into the funding of Freedom from Facebook," an umbrella activist group that has called for the tech firm to be broken up on antitrust grounds, according to Fox News.

However, the company said it wanted to prove that Freedom from Facebook was funded by Soros, not a grassroots campaign.

Soros has been an outspoken critic of Facebook, but holds shares of the company.