Well, is he or isn't he?

So, is he or isn’t he?

That seems to be a lingering question online with reports being pulled out of all kinds of asses, running numbers that don’t even make sense, saying Bono is “now” the richest pop star in the world because of his initial investment in Facebook some 6 years ago?

In 2009, Bono and his Elevation Partners private equity firm acquired 44.7 million shares of Facebook for $210 million — according to Billboard.com. Then, in 2012, when the company went public, various media organizations claimed the pop/kind-of-rock star made close to $1.5 billion … writing things akin to him never making anything close to that in his 30 years of music. Which, let’s be honest, he’s rich as fuck no matter how the numbers turn, but an almost multi-billionaire? Let’s be real.

Earlier this week the story somehow found itself recycling with other media organizations quickly picking it up, still getting the numbers wrong — so much so we’re not even sure how much he’s worth aside from what Google tells us ($700 million). How is this kind of malarkey happening? We’ve got a headache today and we were still able to run a few search engines to find conflicting accounts.

Ah, the great age of misinformation. Jeebus help us all …

Business Insider even updated their original story from 3 years ago shortly after publishing it with a snarky claim that whoever wrote the piece had “fundamental misunderstandings of how venture capital works.” Not something expected from a, you know, Business journal.

Regardless, other outlets like this one, this one, and this one (plus many others), are running with the idea Bono is the richest pop star in the world as of right now, beating out #1 Sir Paul McCartney’s massive $1.1 billion loot stash and Madonna’s paltry $800 million — all over the much-hyped Facebook public offering, or something that happened 3 years ago. There isn't a single published article that has corroborating amounts — in fact some link to articles with their own numbers differing from the source. 

Aye, aye, aye. 

So we don’t know if Bono is the richest pop star in the world right now, nor do we even care. Our best guess comes from the above mentioned Billboard article (again, from 2012), which breaks down the numbers in a sensical manner, pointing out the take coming from Facebook is split between multiple people, and often not just "cashed out" to go buy a round of drinks; that's not exactly how investments work. Forbes has Sir Paul McCartney at the top of its "richest" lists usually, but then what is a pop star and what is a rock star — and where does hip-hop come in? These people are rich, privileged, and lead a life none of us likely ever will, should we really care about their status in relation to our own?

Our bills are paid — good enough for us …

These are astronomical numbers we’ll never bother with and feel no one else should either. What got us paying attention to the over-hyped story, however, is the staggering amount of publications that can get so much wrong when the editorial matter is so close within reach. Literal reach. Like reaching your hands over a few keys and clicking through the Web.

We need a drink …Bono, you're buying!