Speaking with employees in a staff meeting in July, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg held forth on a number of issues facing him and the social media giant he’s steered to global dominance over the past decade and a half. Among those issues, according to audio of the meetings obtained by the Verge, is the possibility of an Elizabeth Warren presidency and what it would mean for a company she has publicly criticized.
According to Zuckerberg—one of the richest, most powerful men in the history of life on planet Earth—it would “suck.”
“Like Elizabeth Warren, who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies,” Zuckerberg told employees during the meeting, according to the audio published today. “If she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government.
“But look,” He continued. “At the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”
Shortly after the audio was published, Zuckerberg responded by defending his comments as an “unfiltered version of what I’m thinking and telling employees.”
Back in March, Warren put out proposal to institute “big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition” among the tech giants. In the case of Facebook, she proposed detangling its “anti-competitive mergers” that allowed the social media giant to acquire other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.
Does that mean your boomer aunt wouldn’t be able to post racist screeds and pictures of her Pomeranians? Of course not. It just means Zuck wouldn’t make quite so much money mining quite so many people’s person information from quite as many different sources. “Sucks” indeed!
So it’s hardly shocking that a massively wealthy tech oligarch wouldn’t be thrilled by the real prospect of a Warren presidency, given Warren’s career of pitting herself against massive wealth and oligarchies. But what is somewhat surprising is the lack of foresight Zuckerberg apparently had when he made his comments. Was he really not expecting his remarks to be leaked? And, once leaked, did he really not see how his words might play directly into Warren’s longstanding criticism of, well, him?
Incidentally, that’s exactly what happened shortly after Zuck’s comments became public:
At this point, the Warren campaign should probably send a nice edible arrangement to Zuckerberg’s office as a thank you for helping make her exact point. Folks, you love to see it.