Mark Zuckerberg announces plan to visit every US state amid speculation over political aspirations

The Facebook CEO says he hopes to "get out and talk to more people" over the next year

Mark Zuckerberg announces plan to visit every US state amid speculation over political aspirations

Picture by Eric Risberg AP/Press Association Images

Mark Zuckerberg has announced his goal for 2017 is to have visited every US state - only weeks after documents led to speculation about his potential political aspirations.

In a Facebook post yesterday, the social network's founder wrote: "My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the US by the end of the year. I've spent significant time in many states already, so I'll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete this challenge.

"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 told his followers that the trip will include road trips with his wife Priscilla, visits to local Facebook offices, trips to small towns & universities, and meetings with 'teachers and scientists'.

He added that he also intends to visit "fun places you recommend along the way".

The post comes only weeks after court filings were unsealed that revealed that the 32-year-old could be planning for a future in politics.

The details were contained in documents related to litigation against Facebook's board of directors over accusations that it had granted 'eternal control' to Zuckerberg.

A document filed by the company revealed details of proposals "linking Mr Zuckerberg's control of our company to Mr Zuckerberg's continued service in a leadership role (subject only to certain limited exceptions for government service or office)".

As reported by The Guardian, text messages between Zuckerberg and two board members discussed how to put the government service clauses to shareholders without them "freaking out [...] that you are losing commitment".

The Guardian also highlights Zuckerberg's recent change in religious attitude as something that could work to his advantage if he decides to pursue politics. 

On Christmas Day, he announced that he now considers religion 'very important' after a period of 'questioning things'.

"I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things," he wrote in response to a Facebook user who asked him to confirm he was an atheist (as has been widely suggested in the past).

"Now I believe religion is very important," Zuckerberg added, in an announcement likely to appeal to conservative and religious Americans.

Facebook found themselves under fire in 2016 over political matters - including after a Gizmodo report accused the company of 'suppressing' conservative news. It led to Zuckerberg meeting with conservative leaders over the controversy, although he added that the company had found "no evidence that this report is true".

Facebook later faced accusations that their social network facilitated the sharing of 'fake news' and 'misinformation' during the US election.

Zuckerberg said they were working on the issue of misinformation, stating: "We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or to mistakenly restrict accurate content. We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties."

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