Is Zuckerberg heading for the White House?
By Diane Cooke
The internet is on fire with theories about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hitting the presidential campaign trail in 2020.
According to Recode, there's no truth in the rumours. "Zuckerberg says he isn’t running. His close colleagues and friends we’ve spoken to say he isn’t running. And quite frankly, he already has pretty amazing influence running Facebook and spending his billions on whatever philanthropic issues he cares most about. Why add all the red tape and drama?"
The Facebook CEO is well on his way to completing his New Year’s resolution: to meet and speak with people in every U.S. state by the end of the year. By his estimation, that means he has about 30 states to hit in 2017.
He framed the trip as a learning tour amidst a “turning point in history” as technology and globalisation has led to “a greater sense of division than I have felt in my lifetime.” Hearing more voices, he wrote, “will help me lead the work at Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” his philanthropic LLC.
So far he's been spotted at a Texas rodeo, on the streets of New Orleans for Mardi Gras and chatting with towering college basketball players from Duke and North Carolina.
He also visited the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and in a Facebook post he discussed the tribal council, business development and the number of social ills facing the reservation, including a meth epidemic.
According to Wired, the public and press began to interpret the whistlestop tour as foregrounding a Zuckerberg 2020 presidential campaign.
The 33-year-old billionaire hired a former White House photographer, whose images depict him, Obama-like, as a man of the people. A coterie of ex-politicos—including a former aide to Tim Kaine—were helping him orchestrate meet-and-greets.
Zuckerberg met with recovering opioid addicts in Ohio. He dropped by the same candy shop in Iowa where Mitt Romney once made milkshakes. He had a quick stint on an assembly line in Detroit.
And adding fuel to the conspiracy fire, unsealed court documents revealed Zuckerberg had attempted to restructure Facebook stock to allow him to retain voting control if he served in government for two years, or served indefinitely, with a few stipulations.
Watch out Donald Trump?