New York, US (BBN)-Mark Zuckerberg has fuelled speculation that he is considering a move into politics by declaring that his “personal challenge” for 2017 is to have met people in all 50 states of America by the end of the year.
His mission? To help to heal division and ease inequality, reports The Australian quoting The Times.
It’s not the first time that the Facebook co-founder has hinted at an interest in public office. In 2015 Zuckerberg, 32, proposed changing his company’s share structure so that he could donate most of his shares to a fund dedicated to good works without losing control of his company.
A related SEC filing sought board permission for him to work “in government”, also without ceding control of his social media network.
It was also revealed over the Christmas period that, after years of doubt, he is no longer an atheist.
He told his Facebook followers that he now believed that religion was “very important”, perhaps coincidentally a prerequisite for anybody considering a run for public office in the United States.
It is said that America’s states are the laboratories of democracy and Zuckerberg’s determination to use 2017 to venture from the comfort of the Left Coast, as the Democratic West Coast states are often called, into the vastness of middle America that is overwhelmingly socially conservative has all the hallmarks of political ambition.
There is also something of the statesman about his desire, expressed in his annual new year post on Facebook, to “talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future . . . 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.”
The world’s fifth richest man added that his work at Facebook and the foundation he runs with his wife Priscilla Chan was “about connecting the world and giving everyone a voice” and that his visits to the states would help the couple to “make the most positive impact as the world enters an important new period”.
Having already visited 20 states, he plans to tour the remaining 30 in a series of road trips, stopping in small towns and universities and visiting Facebook offices and having “meetings with teachers and scientists”.
The conciliatory tone of his post about his latest personal challenge comes after a year in which Facebook and Zuckerberg have faced unprecedented criticism for allowing the spread of fake news and bias to his social network’s 1.8 billion subscribers.