Politics

Mark Zuckerberg's Latest Facebook Post Is Prompting Political Speculation

January 4th 2017

By:
Mike Rothschild

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is evidently taking the divides exposed by the 2016 election personally. In a message on the social networking site, he laid out how his personal challenge for the year was to visit and meet with people in all 50 states.

"After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they're living, working and thinking about the future," Zuckerberg wrote.

In his travels, Zuckerberg explained in the post that he hoped to get more of a sense for how technology and globalization are making life easier and harder for people of all economic classes and origins.

"This has created many benefits, but for a lot of people it has also made life more challenging," he wrote. "This has contributed to a greater sense of division than I have felt in my lifetime. We need to find a way to change the game so it works for everyone.”

While Zuckerberg's post says only that he's doing this in the scope of hearing more voices for the purposes of connection, other media outlets have speculated that Zuckerberg might have something more grand on his mind: politics.

The year-long quest to meet more Americans would be another step in Zuckerberg quietly but forcefully arranging his personal and business affairs toward a run for office, according to the Guardian.

In December, unsealed court filings from a class-action lawsuit revealed that Zuckerberg was discussing with board members how he might pursue a political career while keeping control of the company - perhaps keeping in mind the questions Donald Trump has faced about divesting from his businesses while in the White House.

Beyond that, Zuckerberg quietly tackled an issue that might've hampered him in national politics - his religion.

He told a Facebook user who commented on a post he wrote on, Christmas day, Dec. 25 that he was no longer an atheist, though he declined to reveal what religion he was currently practicing, saying, "I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

The Facebook founder has been involved in several philanthropic ventures which edged toward politics, some of which were more successful than others.

In 2013, he helped launch a lobbying group devoted to immigration reform, and in particular, expanding the H1B visa program, a critical part of Silicon Valley talent recruitment. Zuckerberg also made a $100 million donation to reform public schools in Newark, New Jersey, a process that was beset by mismanagement and bad optics.

 

Zuckerberg's personal politics are something of a mystery. He's said to have voted in the past few general elections, but has no stated party preference. He's donated to both Republicans and Democrats, from stalwart liberals like Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer to Republicans like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio.

And both parties have claimed him as one of their own, despite him not revealing his party affiliation - or if he even has one.