STEM History:

Christopher “Chris” Hughes


American entrepreneur, author, and co-founder of Facebook

Birth/Death Dates

November 26, 1983 –


Hughes co-founded Facebook in 2002, while a Harvard student, with business partners Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Andrew McCollum.

In 2016, Hughes co-founded the Economic Security Project (ESP), a non-profit that advocates for basic income for all Americans. In 2018, he published Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn. Hughes is openly gay and is married to Sean Eldridge.

Educational Background

  • Harvard University (AB)
  • The New School (MA)

Struggles this Innovator Overcame

In March 2012, Hughes purchased a majority stake in The New Republic magazine and became its publisher, executive chairman, and editor-in-chief. The magazine was not profitable during his tenure. On January 11, 2016, Hughes put The New Republic up for sale, saying he had “underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate.”

Problems this Innovator Solved

Hughes developed many of Facebook’s popular features.

How this innovator changed the world (or at least their corner of it)

Hughes was unofficially responsible for Facebook beta testing and product suggestions. When the founding group first pondered opening Facebook to other schools, Hughes argued that schools should have their own networks to maintain intimacy. He was instrumental in developing many of Facebook’s popular features, which led to the opening of Facebook to the outside world.

Years after leaving Facebook, Hughes, in an op-ed published in May 2019, called on the U.S. government to break up Facebook. He warned about the “dangers of Facebook’s monopoly” and argued that Zuckerberg had prioritized the company’s growth over user privacy, safety, and democratic influence.

Lasting changes from this innovator’s work or how they trailblazed

As of 2024, Facebook has around 2.9 billion monthly active users and is the most popular social media worldwide.

Hughes was portrayed by actor Patrick Mapel in the 2010 film The Social Network, which portrays the founding of Facebook.

Written by Donna Abosch