Mark Zuckerberg fuels political rumours with 2017 US tour
Mark Zuckerberg’s latest New Year’s resolution has fired up a rumour that the Facebook founder may be kindling political ambitions.
The 32-year-old technology figurehead has pledged to “have visited and met people in every state in the US” by the end of 2017. Having already visited a number of states, he says he will need to cover 30 states in the year if he hopes to total all 50.
“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,” he writes.
“Going into this challenge, it seems we are at a turning point in history. For decades, technology and globalisation have made us more productive and connected. This has created many benefits, but for a lot of people it has also made life more challenging. 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.”
Compared to Zuckerberg’s previous New Year’s resolution – building an AI for his home – the pledge strikes a statesman-like tone, not least the description of his own work: “connecting the world and giving everyone a voice”.
Nor is this resolution alone in its hint at Zuckerberg’s political ambitions. As The Guardian notes, in December last year unsealed court filings showed how the Facebook CEO had discussed with two board members how to present the possibility of government service to shareholders.
The documents revealed text messages sent from venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who told Zuckerberg that the “biggest issue” in terms of the corporate proposal was “how to define the gov’t service thing without freaking out shareholders that you are losing commitment”.
If Zuckerberg is indeed planning a move into politics, then he will have to contend with the growing public perception of Facebook as a political entity – notably in the wake of the recent US election and calls for the social network to admit its responsibility to address fake news and echo chambers of siloed opinions.