Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday that his attempt to recommend a potential job candidate to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign “shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement.”
Speaking to reporters, Zuckerberg acknowledged that he had contacted the South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s Democratic presidential campaign earlier this year after “a number of colleagues” had asked him or his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, to pass along their résumés.
“And so I did that,” Zuckerberg said. “I think that this probably should not be misconstrued as if I’m, like, so deeply involved in trying to support their campaign or something like that.”
Zuckerberg said he and Buttigieg had met through mutual friends and had appeared publicly together on Facebook Live.
Chris Meagher, a campaign spokesman for Buttigieg, had confirmed to CNN earlier on Monday that Zuckerberg and Chan had each sent a private email to the campaign recommending a potential hire. Both job candidates were later brought on board the campaign.
The direct outreach by two of America’s most influential businesspeople and philanthropists focuses more scrutiny on Facebook, the social media giant that has been criticized for its influence on political discourse.
Asked about the emails on Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – the Democratic presidential candidate and a major Facebook critic – said Zuckerberg “runs a company that has too much political power.”
“They already have way too much influence in Washington,” she told reporters as she called again for Facebook to be broken up, “and they are helping drive every conversation in a way that will protect Mark Zuckerberg and his company, but that undermines our democracy.”