There’s been speculation for weeks that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is been preparing for a political run, perhaps even with eyes on the presidency in 2020. But today Zuckerberg said that isn’t the case, telling BuzzFeed News that, “No,” he has no plans to run for the United States’ top office.
Instead, Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed that he was “focused on building our community at Facebook and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” The interview appears to have been conducted over email, and BuzzFeed didn’t hear back when pressing Zuckerberg further on whether he’d entirely ruled out a presidential run.
Speculation around Zuckerberg’s political aspirations was largely sparked by court filings, revealed by Bloomberg, showing that Zuckerberg had negotiated a way to maintain control of Facebook even while holding public office.
Since then, there’s been a habit of filtering his actions through this lens. And, speculative as it may be to say, a lot of them do look and feel like actions someone would take early in a campaign. Zuckerberg plans to have visited every US state by the end of the year, and he’s been using his travels to meet local leaders, like officers from the Dallas Police Department.
As BuzzFeed points out, Zuckerberg also employs a photographer who was assigned to cover the Bush White House, and he recently hired a pair of top political strategists to assist the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
It’s very possible that Zuckerberg is interested in becoming a bigger figure politically without actually running for office. He’s tried, without much success, to push for changes to immigration policy in the past. And with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — and its big new hires — he’s well positioned to continue pushing for issues he cares about in the future, putting to use his personal wealth and the power that comes with running one of the premier sources of information for many people.
Of course, it’s also very possible that Zuckerberg has “no” current plans to run for office but will suddenly change his mind one of these days. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did the same thing before her 2016 run.
One way or another, Zuckerberg has plans to involve himself in politics. It still feels like a fair question to ask: how much?