Mark Zuckerberg has publicly refuted suggestions that he might be interested in running for the U.S. presidency.
“No,” read the Facebook (FB) founder and CEO’s written response to an enquiry from BuzzFeed.
The website reports that Zuckerberg’s response comes after incessant press speculation of his political ambitions, based on several recent personal and corporate moves.
Following a tumultuous election year which saw his social network’s political and media roles come under the spotlight, the Fortune Businessperson of the Year 2016 kicked off the new year with a pledge to travel to all 50 U.S. states, in a bid to “get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future.”
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BuzzFeed suggested that certain developments, including a top level hire at Zuckerberg’s charity and a recent change in Facebook shareholders’ power structure, indicated that Zuckerberg was mulling involvement in politics. But an unnamed source told BuzzFeed that the billionaire had denied having such plans.
“There’s absolutely no truth to the idea that Mark is running for office and I’ve heard it directly from him,” the source told BuzzFeed, adding that Zuckerberg’s interests lay in the power of Facebook as a global platform.
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In December, Bloomberg reported that unsealed court filings revealed that Facebook planned to change its shareholder power structures so that, even should Zuckerberg divest most of his investments, he would still get to keep his current voting control over the publicly-traded social media company. (Current U.S. President Donald Trump has been mired in controversy over his investment and ownership of the Trump Organization both during and after his 2016 campaign, and now faces a lawsuit brought by an ethics watchdog.)
The Facebook founder and CEO added that he was “focused on building our community at Facebook and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” the education philanthropy group he jointly founded in 2015 with his wife Priscilla Chan. Earlier this month, the group snagged former Obama aide David Plouffe from Uber, and news broke that the organization had acquired Meta, an artificial intelligence startup with a focus on healthcare.