Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to give away most of his wealth to charity.

The billionaire is one of 17 people to support a group started by Bill Gates and his wife to encourage rich people to publicly pledge to give to charity.

The 26-year-old, estimated to be worth $6.9bn (£4.4bn) has already given $100m in shares to schools in New Jersey.

People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?” he asked in a statement.

“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.”

Around 40 individuals have already made the pledge thanks to the Giving Pledge initiative.

Although many wealthy people prefer to donate anonymously, the Giving Pledge says it’s important to be open about donations because it encourages others to give.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has also signed up to the scheme, said: “I certainly see the value of a project that encourages wealthy individuals to step forward and commit to use their wealth for the common good.”

“I hope that by adding my voice with those who are supporting this project, we will encourage others to participate.”