Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during Meta Connect event at Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California on September 27, 2023. Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, saw his net worth soar by more than $28 billion in a single morning, fueled by Meta’s stock reaching a record surge. With Zuckerberg already holding a net worth exceeding $140 billion, this substantial increase came after Meta announced its inaugural cash dividend program.

Following the news of a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share, slated for payment on March 26 to shareholders recorded as of February 22, Meta’s (META) shares experienced a remarkable 20% surge on Friday. Zuckerberg, who owns approximately 350 million shares of the company, stands to gain an additional $700 million annually from dividend payouts if the company maintains this level.

While dividends typically please shareholders by rewarding their stock ownership, they also face criticism for potentially inflating stock prices without contributing to employee welfare or business enhancements.

The positive market response comes amid potential challenges for Meta’s stock following Zuckerberg’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony about the risks associated with social media platforms, particularly for young users. During the hearing, Zuckerberg addressed internal documents suggesting Meta estimates the lifetime value of a teen user at $270 and clarified the company’s approach to monetizing user data.

Expressing apologies to parents present at the hearing, Zuckerberg acknowledged their concerns and pledged ongoing industry-wide efforts to prevent such difficulties for families. Despite these challenges, the surge in Meta’s stock price has overshadowed potential repercussions, contributing significantly to Zuckerberg’s already substantial wealth.