Setting recent rumors to rest, for now, that he has designs on a high political office such as President, Mark Zuckerberg responded to a direct question from BuzzFeed News about his political aspirations and said simply, "No," and "I’m focused on building our community at Facebook and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative."
The rumor came out of Zuck's annual announcement which we now know is crafted and edited by the team of 12 who maintain his personal Facebook presence of his New Year's resolutions, which this year include traveling to every state in the union that he's never been to, 30 in total, and meet people in every state. That, coupled with another public statement that he no longer calls himself atheist and a clause he had added to shareholder packages that allows him to take a leave from the company to hold political office, had tongues wagging across tech blogs and other news orgs that Zuckerberg could very well be eying a presidential run, 50-state strategy and all.
The 32-year-old Facebook mogul didn't elaborate further about what his eventual political goals might be, vis a vis that clause he clearly wanted put in to his ownership deal in the company. But a source who claims to have spoken to Zuckerberg personally on the topic assures BuzzFeed, "For Mark, Facebook is a global community that already plays this huge part in the lives of billions of people around the world and plays an incredibly important role in shaping the base on the issues that matter.”
That source also suggested that Zuck is preparing to continue to play a big role in political debates, but here's where it gets vague. "There is absolutely a possibility that Mark may choose to play a stronger role in the political system and political debates," according to the source, and "I really don’t see him stepping away from Facebook." But the political cycle we're potentially talking about here, either starting in 2019 or 2023, is still a long ways off, and Zuckerberg has every reason not to alarm shareholders or the stock market about some ultimate intention to go into politics.
In semi-related news, the New York Times reported last week that Zuck now has a former Obama guy on his team he poached David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, away from his current job at Uber to put him on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as president of policy and advocacy. Also now on the board of the Initiative is Kenneth Mehlman, the manager of President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. That's some heavy politico might right there.
So maybe the Zuck doth protest too much right now?
Previously: Is Mark Zuckerberg Maybe Planning To Run For President?