Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg will join some of the world's richest families and individuals in giving the majority of his wealth to charitable causes.
Mr Zuckerberg was one of 17 new signatories to the Giving Pledge, a project created by investor Warren Buffett along with Bill and Melinda Gates. The pledge asks that each billionaire signatory commit to giving most of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organisations either before or after their death.
In a statement, Mr Zuckerberg said there was no reason for people to wait until late in their careers to give back.
''Why wait when there is so much to be done? With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts,'' he said.
In September, Forbes estimated the 26-year-old's personal wealth at US$6.9 billion and placed him at number 40 on a list of the world's most powerful people. Around the same time, the young billionaire gave US$100 million to Newark's public schools, sparking accusations he was attempting to preempt negative publicity stemming from film The Social Network, which had only recently been released.
Mr Zuckerberg is joined in the Giving Pledge by a range of high-profile billionaires including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Star Wars creator George Lucas and hotel heir Barron Hilton.