Mark Zuckerberg Says He’s Not Running for Public Office

Facebook CEO says what appears to be early campaigning is simply a “personal challenge”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he’s not running for public office in a lengthy post on Sunday. In it, he said his “personal challenge this year is to visit every state I haven’t spent time in before to learn about people’s hopes and challenges.”

“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office. I’m not. I’m doing it to get a broader perspective to make sure we’re best serving our community,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Zuckerberg’s personal challenge “to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year” had tongues wagging earlier this month after the Facebook founder met with South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and had dinner with “Trump Democrats” in Ohio.

“My personal challenge this year is to visit every state I haven’t spent time in before to learn about people’s hopes and challenges, and how they’re thinking about their work and communities,” Zuckerberg clarified. “My biggest takeaway so far is that our relationships shape us more than we think — how we consider opportunities, how we process information, and how we form habits.”

Media pundits have been speculating about the Facebook boss running for president for weeks. Fox News host Jesse Watters recently laughed off the possibility. “It’s a lot harder to get votes in November than likes on Facebook.”

But Peter Alexander of NBC’s “Today” reported that not only did Zuckerberg ask his staff last November to find Democrats who voted for Donald Trump, there is a paper trail that adds to the theory that the young billionaire has political aspirations.

“The first sign, this line buried in last year’s SEC filing by Facebook that read ‘…Mr. Zuckerberg’s leave of absence or resignation would not constitute a voluntary resignation if it were in connection with his service in a government position of office,'” Alexander reported.

In 2014, asked if he had plans to run for president, Zuckerberg simply said, no.

Zuckerberg concluded his Facebook post: “I hope a lot of you have challenged yourselves to get out and learn from other perspectives this year too. I’d love to hear your stories and reflections as well.”