Unlikely the fifth richest man in the world will be swapping Facebook for White House anytime soon...
Mark Zuckerberg has poured cold water on suggestions that he is gearing up to run for US President.
When asked directly by Buzzfeed News if he had his sights set on the Oval Office, he simply responded:
"No. I'm focused on building our community at Facebook and working on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative."
Facebook's head honcho did not immediately respond to follow-up questions of whether he was explicitly ruling out a run. Zuckerberg established the initiative with his wife, Priscilla Chan, in 2015 to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy" and pledged to invest up to $1 billion in Facebook shares in each of the next three years.
The 32-year-old billionaire's big New Year's resolution for 2017 was to meet people "in every state in the US by the end of the year" and his visits have had the distinct feel of a man on the campaign trail, as he hangs out with local police officers and education leaders and plants community trees.
Meeting teachers in Waxahachie, Texas. facebook.com/zuck
Already a man keen to connect, his efforts have sparked rumours of a presidential run, either competing with Trump 2020 or – as Silicon Valley believes to be more likely – going for America's highest office in 2024.
Zuckerberg's BuzzFeed assertion lends credence to a Guardian piece on Monday that suggested Zuckerberg's changing public face was more to do with "hard-nosed business ambition" than politics.
Learning how regular "folks" live across the US, hiring a former White House photographer to be responsible for his Facebook snaps and adjusting his atheist outlook by declaring that religion was important are all just steps, the newspaper posits, has "everything to do with what Zuckerberg considers an appropriate image for the living embodiment of Facebook".
Mark Zuckerberg's first rodeo. facebook.com/zuck