Is Mark Zuckerberg planning to run for president in 2020?
And as this connect-the-dots style evidence trail suggests, Zuckerberg is sure doing everything to leave open the possibility.
1. Embark on an ambitious tour of the US
Earlier this year Zuckerberg dined with a family in Ohio, was photographed working on an assembly line at a Ford factory and was seen feeding a calf. When accused of setting himself of a political run, he denied it.
VERDICT: They say the key to business is networking...
2. Deny you're running for president
Now this may seem counterintuitive, but hear us out.
Nobody wants to seem too keen, and denying you are planning a run for president is the perfect way to keep people off the scent.
Zuckerberg said "No" when asked by Buzzfeed in January if he had any plans to run for the White House.
But Barack Obama said in 2005 he intended to serve a full Senatorial term, which would have left him in the Senate 2011. Instead, he was inaugurated in 2009.
VERDICT: Not a deal breaker.
3. Embark on a 50 state tour and create its own Facebook page
VERDICT: Exploring the coalface of the Electoral College.
4. Share the human stories of the people you meet
VERDICT: Man of the people.
5. Tease a big announcement
VERDICT: Asking 'What did George Marshall do?' = very presidential.
6. Talk a lot about global affairs and international relations
VERDICT: So presidential it hurts.
7. Discuss stuff with your influential mates and receive their endorsement
VERDICT: No fundraising problems in *this* room, plus "dream job"?
8. Say we are at a "turning point in history"
VERDICT: 10/10 presidential.
9. Ensure any run for office is cleared in the small print
Facebook's submission last year to the Securities and Exchange Commission read:
Mr. Zuckerberg's leave of absence or resignation would not constitute a Voluntary Resignation if it were in connection with his serving in a government position or office
VERDICT: Ruling nothing out.
10. Oh, and build a huge propaganda machine that can disseminate information to millions ofc
If Zuckerberg were to run for office, it's probable he'd recuse himself from the day-to-day running of Facebook.
But even if he did, the knowledge of how Facebook *really* works would be invaluable to him as a political candidate.
Plus, he has 83 million followers on the platform ― more than Trump, Clinton and Obama combined.
VERDICT: That's a lot of potential supporters.