Zuckerberg's dinner rounds fuel talk of his political aims

Mark Zuckerberg (centre) had dinner with the Moore family in Newton Falls.
Mark Zuckerberg (centre) had dinner with the Moore family in Newton Falls.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MARK ZUCKERBERG

YOUNGSTOWN (Ohio) • Facebook founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has made a surprise visit and had dinner with an Ohio family, according to a local newspaper, further fuelling speculation that he might be running for political office.

Local newspaper Vindicator of Youngstown reported that Mr Zuckerberg dined with the Moore family in Newton Falls, about 88km south-east of Cleveland. The newspaper said Mr Zuckerberg had asked his staff to find Democrats who voted for Mr Donald Trump.

Mr Zuckerberg's trek to Ohio is part of his plan to visit and meet people in all 50 states, which has led to widespread speculation about whether he intends to run for office himself, the Guardian daily reported yesterday.

It noted that texts released last year as part of a class-action suit showed that Mr Zuckerberg had at least discussed the possibility of a run for office with funders such as venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

On Christmas Day last year, the Facebook founder also said that he no longer considered himself an atheist, a philosophical position which the Guardian said could be a problem for politicians.

COOL GUY

We got to know a very cool guy. Just down to earth and real easy to talk to.

MR DANIEL MOORE, on Mr Mark Zuckerberg during the Facebook founder's surprise visit and dinner with his family.

His company has attempted to stay non-partisan, through criticism of how its business model financially rewarded creators of "fake news" during the presidential campaign.

The Moore family said not all the chat at dinner was political, according to the Vindicator. Mr Daniel Moore said he and his wife talked about their work with an orphanage in Uganda and that Mr Zuckerberg said he was now planning a fund-raiser to benefit the orphans.

"We got to know a very cool guy," Mr Moore said. "Just down to earth and real easy to talk to."

Mr Zuckerberg and his wife recently pledged US$3 billion (S$4.2 billion) to "cure, prevent or manage" all disease by the end of the century.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'Zuckerberg's dinner rounds fuel talk of his political aims'. Print Edition | Subscribe