WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 -- Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old co-founder of Facebook, announced his participation in the Giving Pledge, a pact started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, which encourages America's wealthiest people to give the majority of their money to charity.
Zuckerberg, whose popular social media website has earned him an estimated $6.9 billion, becomes one of the youngest billionaires to take the pledge. He joins the likes of CNN founder Ted Turner and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"People wait until late in their career to give back," Zuckerberg said in a statement. "But why wait when there is so much to be done?"
"I think it's a really strong signal about the possibility of giving by Gen-X and Gen-Y leaders," Jason Franklin, Executive Director of Bolder Giving, said in an interview with ABC News. "It says you don't just have to make your money now and give later."
"It's certainly an internal obligation," Berkshire Hathaway chairman and pledge co-founder Warren Buffett told Christiane Amanpour on "This Week." "I mean, I don't want to teach morality to other people. But it's -- I don't see any other choice."
On November 28, "This Week with Christiane Amanpour" aired a special report which examined the Giving Pledge and featured interviews with prominent participants Buffet and the Gates, the pledge's co-founders.
"In philanthropy, it's very important to have diversity," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. "Everybody should pursue their own approach. So it's not a monolithic thing. It's about doing different things. But it's still learning from each other."
Zuckerberg, 16 Others Join Giving Pledge
Responding to the most recent announcement, Buffett said, "In just a few short months we've made good progress. The Giving Pledge has re-energized people thinking about philanthropy and doing things in philanthropy and I look forward to many more conversations with families who are truly fortunate, and whose generosity can and will change lives."
"I continue to be surprised and impressed by how many people have signed on to the Giving Pledge so quickly," said Bolder Giving's Franklin. "My hope is that it is the start of a new growth in the culture of giving."
The pledge now includes 57 American families. Buffett and Gates have begun reaching out to billionaires in other countries to further increase the impact of the pledge.