The thing about getting something done in D.C. is it requires the occasional trip to D.C. Hence this week, Mark Zuckerberg sallied forth from the cozy womb of Silicon Valley to do a little schmoozing in the capitol. As part of his trip, he took a little time to sit down with the Atlantic and answer a few questions at the Newseum.
And if you’ve been wondering about Mr. Zuckerberg’s political allegiances, well, don’t expect to be enlightened: ”I think it’s hard to affiliate as being either a Democrat or a Republican; I’m pro knowledge economy.”
Generally when a billionaire says that, though, it doesn’t mean he’ll be whipping out his checkbook for the DNC.
This is far from the first time we’ve heard Zuck drop that particular phrase; he’s constantly yammering on about the transition to a wonderful world where information-sharing somehow magically turns into money. Plus there’s the promise of enabling people to make truly informed decisions: ”I think the Internet is really good in general, because it helps get access to information.”
The implication: Facebook is doing God’s work in connecting you with baby-toting high school classmates, former hookups and randos from whoville. Now we can hash out the future of the republic in the comments underneath links to BuzzFeed articles.
Maybe that explains his sanguine response to the NSA’s spying. He didn’t sound particularly bothered by what the agency is up to, so much as aggravated by the government’s refusal to let Facebook disclose what they’re asked for. “My general belief is the more transparent they are about what they’re doing, the more comfortable the public will be with it.” That seems… optimistic.
Nor did he seemed all that bothered by the furor over his own political experiment, FWD.us. “There’s been a lot to debug in terms of making this work,” he admitted re: all the controversial ads meant to prop up GOP politicians with their constituencies. Zuck’s sticking with it, though. “It’s a really good crew and I’m proud of the work they’re doing.”
But hey, at least he shows signs of self-awareness. Asked about the fate of Myspace and whether he sweats Facebook losing it’s cool, he insisted he wants to build a “fundamental service,” something more like electricity. As for hipness, “That’s never been my goal. I’m like the least cool person there is.”
Your words, not ours.