Chris Hughes
Hughes in 2009
Christopher Hughes

(1983-11-26) November 26, 1983 (age 40)
EducationHarvard University (AB)
The New School
Known forCo-founder of Facebook
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 2012)

Chris Hughes (born November 26, 1983[1]) is an American entrepreneur and author who co-founded and served as spokesman for the online social directory and networking site Facebook until 2007. He was the publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic from 2012 to 2016.

Hughes co-founded the Economic Security Project (ESP) in 2016. In 2018, he published Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn.

Early life and education

Hughes grew up in Hickory, North Carolina,[2] as the only child of Arlen "Ray" Hughes, an industrial paper salesman, and Brenda Hughes, a mathematics teacher.[3] He was raised as an evangelical Lutheran.[4] He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, before earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and English Literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard College.[3][5]

In February 2020, it was reported that Hughes was in the process of earning his Master of Arts in Economics from The New School for Social Research in New York City.[6]



Hughes is a co-founder of Facebook.[6][7][8] At Harvard, Hughes met and was recruited by Mark Zuckerberg, who at the time was still working in the early stages of the website. During their summer break in 2004, Hughes and Zuckerberg traveled to Palo Alto, California. While Zuckerberg decided to remain in Palo Alto after the break, Hughes decided to return to Harvard to continue his studies.[3] In 2006, after graduating from Harvard, Hughes relocated to Palo Alto to rejoin Zuckerberg and became involved in Facebook again.[citation needed]

Hughes was unofficially responsible for beta testing and product suggestions. When the group had the idea to open Facebook to other schools, Hughes argued that schools should have their own networks to maintain the intimacy. He was also a key driver in developing many of Facebook's popular features, which led to the opening of Facebook to the outside world.[3]

Hughes left Facebook in 2007.[6][9]

When Facebook's initial public offering took place in 2012, Hughes made $500 million.[10]

After Facebook

In March 2009, Hughes was named Entrepreneur in Residence at General Catalyst, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, venture-capital firm.[11]

Hughes at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010

Hughes was the executive director of Jumo, a non-profit social network organization which he founded in 2010, which "aims to help people find ways to help the world".[12][13] In July 2010, UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) appointed him to a 17-member "High Level Commission" of renowned politicians, business leaders, human rights activists, and scientists tasked with spearheading a "social and political action campaign over the coming year aimed at galvanizing support for effective HIV prevention programmes."[14]

The New Republic

In March 2012, Hughes purchased a majority stake in The New Republic magazine. He became the publisher and executive chairman, and also served as editor-in-chief of the magazine.[15] In December 2014, shortly after the magazine's centennial celebration, editor Franklin Foer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier were "driven out" and dozens of other staff and contributing editors resigned after a new chief executive, Guy Vidra, a former Yahoo! employee, described the new direction of the magazine as a "vertically integrated digital media company."[16] The magazine was forced to cancel its upcoming issue due to the staff departures.[16]

The magazine was not profitable during Hughes' tenure.[17] 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."[17] Hughes' ownership of The New Republic was described by The New York Times as a "vanity project."[18] He sold the magazine on February 26, 2016 to Oregon publisher Win McCormack.[19]

Other activities

Hughes co-founded the Economic Security Project in 2016.[6] In 2018, he published Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn.[20]

In May 2019, he published an op-ed in the New York Times, calling for the break-up of Facebook and for government regulation of content on it;[21] in June of the same year, he criticized the Facebook decision to launch Libra (which was later renamed Diem), saying that the cryptocurrency "would shift power into the wrong hands if, at least, the coin be modestly successful".[22]

Political involvement

After leaving Facebook, Hughes volunteered for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.[6][9]

Hughes and Sean Eldridge bought a $2 million residence in New York's 19th congressional district with the reported purpose of permitting Eldridge to run for the congressional seat there.[23] In 2014, Eldridge lost his congressional bid by 29 points.[24]

Hughes endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[25]

Personal life

Hughes is openly gay and is married to Sean Eldridge.[26] Hughes and Eldridge announced their engagement in January 2011 at a reception in support of Freedom to Marry. They married on June 30, 2012.[27][5]

In popular culture

Hughes was portrayed by actor Patrick Mapel in the 2010 film The Social Network.[28]


  1. ^ Leskin, Paige. "The story of Chris Hughes, who made a fortune by helping Mark Zuckerberg create Facebook, but now thinks it should be broken up". Business Insider. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  2. ^ Stelter, Brian (July 7, 2008). "The Facebooker Who Friended Obama". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d McGirt, Ellen (April 1, 2009). "How Chris Hughes Helped Launch Facebook and the Barack Obama Campaign". Fast Company.
  4. ^ Holson, Laura M. (May 4, 2012). "Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge Are the New Power Brokers". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Solomon, Brian. "Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Marries Longtime Boyfriend". Forbes. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e Matthews, Dylan (January 15, 2020). "Chris Hughes wants another chance". Vox. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  7. ^ Dans, Enrique. "Chris Hughes And Facebook: What Are A Founder's Responsibilities?". Forbes.
  8. ^ Bursztynsky, Jessica (June 17, 2019). "Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes: I still consider Mark Zuckerberg a friend, but his 'power has grown too big'". CNBC.
  9. ^ a b Nuñez, Michael. "How Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Made (And Spent) His Fortune". Forbes.
  10. ^ Schiller, Ben (February 19, 2018). "Chris Hughes Got Lucky With Facebook, Now He Wants Everyone To Have A Shot". Fast Company.
  11. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (March 17, 2009). "After Facebook And The Obama Campaign, Chris Hughes Takes a Post At General Catalyst". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  12. ^ McGirt, Ellen (March 18, 2010). "Facebook Chris Hughes's". Fast Company.
  13. ^ Wortham, Jenna (November 30, 2010). "A Facebook Founder Begins a Social Network Focused on Charities". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "Top world personalities join UNAIDS' High Level Commission to bring about a prevention revolution". UNAIDS TODAY. July 21, 2010.
  15. ^ "New Republic Gets an Owner Steeped in New Media". The New York Times. March 9, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Mahler, Jonathan; Somaiya, Ravi (December 7, 2014). "Revolt at the New New Republic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Somaiya, Ravi (January 11, 2016). "The New Republic Is for Sale Again". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  18. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (January 11, 2016). "When Restless Billionaires Trip on Their Toys". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  19. ^ Byers, Dylan (February 26, 2016). "The New Republic Is Sold by Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes". CNNMoney. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  20. ^ "Book review". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  21. ^ Hughes, Chris (May 9, 2019). "New York Times Op-Ed It's Time to Break Up Facebook". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  22. ^ "Facebook co-founder: Libra coin would shift power into the wrong hands". The Financial Times. June 21, 2019. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  23. ^ "Young, Rich and Relocating Yet Again in Hunt for Political Office". The New York Times. July 11, 2013.
  24. ^ Kirchick, James (December 8, 2014). "The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America's Worst Gay Power Couple". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  25. ^ James, Brendan (February 10, 2016). "Media Bigwigs Donate To Hillary Clinton; Writers Donate To Bernie Sanders". International Business Times.
  26. ^ "A Place at the State Dinner Table". The Advocate. November 24, 2009.
  27. ^ "Forty Under 40". The Advocate. May 2011. Archived from the original on April 23, 2011.
  28. ^ Sparks, Hannah (May 9, 2019). "How Chris Hughes and Facebook co-founders were cast in 'Social Network'". New York Post.

Further reading