Mark Zuckerberg’s 2017 plan to visit all US states hints at political ambitions

By Olivia Solon

Mark Zuckerberg has given more weight to the idea that he could move into politics with the announcement of a statesmanly personal challenge for 2017.

In previous years the Facebook CEO has learned Mandarin, pledged to run at least a mile each day and built a virtual assistant called Jarvis to control his home. This year he wants to have visited and met people in every state in the US. He’s already visited about 20 states, which means he has to travel to about 30 states by the end of the year.

“After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future,” he said in a Facebook post announcing the challenge.


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20 COMMENTS

  1. From the article above:

    On Christmas Day, the Facebook CEO revealed that he is no longer an atheist, one of the biggest liabilities a presidential candidate can have, according to research by Pew Research Center. In a cheery update he said: “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me,” referring to his wife, daughter and dog.

    Below the post a commenter asked “aren’t you an atheist?” – Zuckerberg used to declare his lack of faith on his Facebook profile – to which he replied: “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

    ~Sigh~
    This is so disappointing. Zuckerberg aspires to public office and has suddenly found God and religion. Either he’s been spontaneously indoctrinated or he’s a blatant public liar, neither of which is admirable in a leadership position.

    Zuckerberg must know that his own generation of Americans are the most secular group of Americans we have. Instead of calling on them for support he cravenly caves in to the requirements of the reactionary religious fear based bunch of voters.

    You’re a coward Zuckerberg!!! Grow a spine!

  2. quarecuss

    Just googled the subject of the photo, of which I was unaware. Zuckerberg. Spineless, greedy, amoral ass.

    I remember seeing that photo when I was a kid. Everyone, of all ages, should see photos like that – and have them explained.

  3. I went through a period where I questioned things, but now…

    Mr. Z. buys (or pretends to buy) into the ridiculous notion that there should come a time in one’s life when it is reasonable and desirable not to question things anymore…

    How amusingly and worringly wrong this is, particularly for a man with so much power in his hands…

  4. On the other hand, he’s shown how easy it is to say you’re religious which is just as easily reversed – he won’t gain much traction in politics whilst a declared athiest, so by saying what he has he’s back in the religious fold and politically acceptable. Soon as he’s elected, he can decide he’s “questioning things” again.

    But also take note of what he said:

    “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

    His family upbringing was Jewish so he could legitimately imply that he is now in fact Jewish again, but he didn’t say that; all he said was that he was not athiest, perhaps thinking, “Because, for now, I’m agnostic.”

    He also said that religion is very important – I agree. It’s important because of the damage it does and the divisiveness and problems it causes. It’s important in the same way that cancer is important – both are horrible and need to be dealt with. Sadly it’s also important in order to get elected.
    I might be wrong but perhaps he chose those words with care with this reasoning in mind.

    At least I bloody hope so.

  5. Ardiem

    Would you say that evasion is honest? Is evasion a action that we can accept or even admire in our public leaders?
    Is evasion acceptable as a means to an end?

  6. he won’t gain much traction in politics whilst a declared athiest

    On the other hand, if there were in the US an atheist or agnostic with the means of putting together a political movement capable of cracking the glass ceiling of “non-electability”, it would be someone like him.

    Even if he didn’t get elected, the very fact that he ran as a declared non-religious person would finally draw significant attention to the issue at the national level. For crying out loud, the US is a country where even the supposedly most “balanced and objective” news broadcast (the PBS NewsHour) virtually ignores atheists.

    To hint that atheism is just a juvenile, passing “questioning” phase, to be followed by a “mature” acceptance of religion is a very well-worn trick used by religion apologists. If somebody with the “visibility” and influence of Mr. Z. adopted this tactic for political expediency, I would be very worried.

  7. Right now I don’t give a good god-damn if he’s religious, don’t give a rat’s ass whether a politician is religious or not, or whether he lies about it. We need decent, competent, and progressive leaders. We have Trump and his appointees soon to enter office. They’re going to move the israeli embassy to Jerusalem. That would be an act of insanity. That’s just one thing. The list of things to be deeply worried about is endless. I’ll take anyone now – religious or not – as long as they’re not totally crooked or racist, lying shits (like Sessions)!

    We’re facing an abyss, the ninth circle of Hell! What a crumby society we’re becoming.

  8. We’re facing an abyss, the ninth circle of Hell!

    Dan, I suspect that, for the immediate future, we have no other option than turning into modern Dan-tes (pun intended); visiting hell and be lucky enough to come out of it relatively unscathed…

  9. Note: As a lover of literature in general and Dante in particular I wish to remind the reader, at the risk of appearing punctilious, that innocent people per se would not be sent to the Inferno for being mere victims of treachery, political corruption, hypocrisy, or other sins; the sinners are the ones that are consigned to that fate.

    “Hell” in general is used that way: “We’re all gong to Hell”; The Divine Comedy is a great work of art – and the Inferno shouldn’t be used interchangeably with dreary old Hell, a word we’re all familiar with as part of our language.

    The combination of my name and Dante’s did, however, give me pleasure. Thanks.

  10. Geez…it “used to be” that people running for office “became corrupt” over time. Now?

    You have to “go into the game” a lying, corrupt, sell-out to the highest bidder, scumbag.

    Don’t like Zuckerberg, never have.

  11. Tell you the truth, I don’t give a Zuck.

    A jewish fellow will face increasing and increasing impediments to the gaining of any meaningful office. i am certain the he does not need the money, i am certain that he does not want to start as a local school board member and work his way up. And, Trump is for sure going to strain the relationship with Israel and further stigmatize the American Jewish community. I would not be at all surprised if. at the end of 4 years, we are in a cold war with Israel (for that matter, a cold war with everyone– and a hot war with certain specific countries).

    So, this schmuck thinks that he is going to roll to a prestigious spot because he wants to and he thinks declaring himself back into Judaism is going to sway the legion of blindly voting christians?

    This is a silly story. He’d have a better shot going at it as an atheist and letting the chips fall. He’d at least break ground. And, it is January 11th. He has visited 20 states already? And, if so, it is worrisome that he won’t get to the other 30 in the next 354 days? Strange angle to employ.

  12. As for the “pornographic image”. The pornography is going on all around the nudity. I’d argue that the atrocity/pornography is written on the faces of the people in the picture. Any human being who is ok with the facial expression of the first child (who is completely clothed) in the context of the rest of the picture, is a sociopath. BTW, a picture of a persons foot can be porn to a certain specific fetishist. I listened to a radio show where a man came to completion from women vomiting on him. Christ, everything is pornographic and nothing is pornographic.

  13. The success of an atheist candidate would be HOW that candidate ran the campaign. Emphasizing freedom FROM religion first, not harp on the “virtues” of atheism.

  14. How can nudity be “pornographic”?? It seems that everyone should commit suicide once they see themselves nude! How horrible and satanic is our own bodies! does that sound sane?? I have never known of mass murders by people being driven to insanity in nudist colonies or nude beaches. Get real.

    “Pornogrphic” is a term that has its origins in the book of Genesis, and disseminated though the Christian world and imposed on the rest of us, and amplified by Augustine of Hippo.

  15. Good comments about nudity, cbrown. Did you see that photo (#2)? This is an “iconic” photo of a young Vietnamese child, and others, running for her life, from frigging napalm!

    The photo cemented Western public opinion against the war in Vietnam.

    Facebook briefly removed and quickly reinstated one of the most powerful images to emerge from war—a 1972 photograph of a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl—after initially saying the image violates the company’s policies on displaying nudity. Time Magazine

    It should never have been removed. Not for one second. Nudity! What a twisted society we live in.

  16. My understanding of US federal level candidacy consideration is that Mark’s declaration that he has a religious affiliation indicates he’s in contention.

  17. Mark arguably has more real power doing what he is than as a congressman. Anyone considering voting for him should have a look at some of the decisions he has made in relation privacy setting at facebook.

    here is one example.

    I used to get my ICT students to do a vanity search (trying to get them to understand the benefits of Internet privacy), after a few students finding photos that facebook had passed onto google images I realised I was likely treading on perilous ground and now suggest they do it at home. One of the income streams is advertising and hits are built up when people click on images. So Facebook gives all images (unless you stipulate private – which occasionally has been turned off) all your content ends up being distributed through google images etc. Image a what a president Zuck would do for privacy, net neutrality? Fortunately he doesn’t come across as a nice guy in interviews I’ve seen him in, what he has done is interesting and impressive (if scary) but I doubt most of the younger generation are that smitten with him.

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