No, Mark Zuckerberg is not running for president. This came straight from the horse’s mouth after days of media speculation about the Facebook mogul’s political ambition.
In a statement sent to BuzzFeed, Zuckerberg stated that he is focused on building the Facebook community and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Note how the word “never” was not mentioned at all, providing him wiggle room in case he needs to flip flop on this pronouncement in the future.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Political Moves
This issue and a host of other factors explain the recent media interest because the prospect of a political Zuckerberg is not without any basis whatsoever.
A previously leaked court filing has revealed that an entry to government service was one of the factors considered when Zuckerberg negotiated his latest contract as Facebook CEO. Particularly, there is the provision that states how Zuckerberg must still be allowed to keep his position while in government service for two years.
Zuckerberg has also been methodically drawing political veterans into his orbit. Recently, he recruited David Plouffe, a prominent Barack Obama aide, to head the CZI. He joined a number of other political operatives such as Ken Mehlman, who used to be George W. Bush’s campaign manager.
A number of observers also note that this year’s personal challenge, which is sort of a tradition for Zuckerberg, involves travelling to as much as 30 U.S. states. For some, this suspiciously looks like a campaign in the offing or a listening tour to gauge the pulse of the public.
Does A No Mean No?
If one does think about it, there is cleverness and deflection in the way Zuckerberg’s denial has been crafted. The question was whether he intends to run for president but his answer was not exactly a categorical no. What if conditions weaned him from Facebook and CZI?
Even Hillary Clinton said no when asked about her presidential plans back in 2004.
“You know, in 2008, I hope I’m going to be working for the re-election of John Kerry and John Edwards,” Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
It is also worth noting that the perception of leaving Facebook at this stage could have serious repercussions for the social media company. During the discussion of Zuckerberg’s tenure, for example, it was revealed that some investors have expressed worry that Zuckerberg is losing focus on Facebook while some are concerned that he would no longer be running the show. These indicate the potential financial fallout in case he confirmed that he will be seeking public office.
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