Vin Diesel: 'Facebook really owes me billions of dollars'
"Fast and the Furious" star Vin Diesel jokes that Facebook owes him "billions of dollars" for being one of the first celebrities to use it as a marketing tool.
"Why is Vin Diesel So Popular on Facebook?" read a headline posted by Mashable in May 2009, more than a month after the actor, now 45 years old, opened an account with the social network.
The article pointed out that at the time, "the only person bigger than Diesel on Facebook is President Obama" and cited the actor's "authentic updates and interaction" with fans. At the time, Vin Diesel had 3.4 million of them on Facebook -- then a notable achievement for a celebrity aiming to market his or her brand online. Today, he has more than 41 million "likes".
"Facebook used to ask me to come up to their office to explain what the [expletive] I was doing, and why I had so many fans," Vin Diesel told EW.com in a recent interview. "What was unique was: I never let anyone do a post, I never let anyone post for me in the last four years. My audience knows me so well on the page that if my producing partner's in the room when I post, they'll know somebody was around me."
"That's kind of cool, that's how sophisticated they are," he added. "Facebook really owes me billions of dollars. But whatever. [Laughs]"
Vin Diesel has no official Twitter page. Today, he surpasses Obama in popularity on Facebook, as the president has 35 million "likes." However, teen pop star Justin Bieber has more than 53 million, Lady Gaga has 57 million and Eminem and Rihanna have more than 70 million.
Vin Diesel's first Facebook posts
Vin Diesel is currently promoting "Fast & Furious 6," which is set for release on May 24. The first five films in the action franchise have made more than $1.59 billion in total worldwide. A seventh film is also in the works.
"If there was social media in the '50s, there probably would've been a sequel to 'On the Waterfront.' There would've been a sequel to 'Rebel Without a Cause.' We would've finally gotten the 'Gone With the Wind' answer," Vin Diesel told EW.com. "I think Hollywood, and the choices Hollywood has made, would've been radically different if Clark Gable had 40 million people on his Facebook page."
Vin Diesel, whose real name is Mark Vincent, made his first Facebook posts on April 1, 2009. He created an "event" promoting the release of "Fast & Furious," the fourth film in the series, and also published a photo gallery of pictures of himself with members of his One Race Global Film Foundation.
His most recent post was made on Sunday, May 12. He shared a photo of himself with his mother, on Sunday, May 12 - Mother's Day. He said: "Happy Mother's Day... A shoulder to rest on... a watchful eye... and a mother's love. Haha, a Random Pic that says it all. P.s. To the mothers of Our planet, you sacred angels, we appreciate you."
(Check out more PHOTOS of celebrities and their mothers in our Mother's Day 2013 gallery.)