During Facebook’s opening F8 2016 keynote, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg had some choice words for "fearful voices calling for building walls." It was a thinly veiled jab at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and his campaign is not pleased.
"I think I’ll take Mark Zuckerberg seriously when he gives up all of his private security, moves out of his posh neighborhood, and comes live in a modest neighborhood near a border town, and then I’m sure his attitude would change," Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson responded when asked about the remark on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street.
Considering that Trump is worth somewhere in the range of $4 billion (though no one seems to know with absolute certainty but Donald), it’s safe to assume that he, too, does not live in a "modest neighborhood."
That is, unless he shacks up in one of his many Manhattan real estate properties on occasion – and, being on the Hudson River waterfront, even then their modesty is dubious.
Also, let’s just note the countless impoverished regions Zuckerberg has visited within the past few years to jumpstart his global internet initiative, Free Basics, by attempting to understand what those nations’ people need to get online.
If you listen to Trump’s stump speeches, it’d be hard to believe that he’s ever been south of the border or to the MENA region for any reason other than business – his business. (Well, there was that one time that he tried, but wasn’t invited.)
So, there’s this thing called ‘Google’
Pierson went on to remark that "the CEOs in Silicon Valley should focus on innovation and jobs and their businesses and let the politicians make their policies."
Considering that Silicon Valley and policy couldn’t be more intertwined as of late (read: Apple vs the FBI), it’s pretty obvious that said tech CEOs simply don’t have that luxury. When policy or legislation – e.g. Trump’s long-proposed internet wall – directly impacts the work that these companies do to connect the world, what other choice do they have but to speak up?
Sure, it’s in Facebook’s best interest that the world be connected (through its platform), as that means more online ad dollars. But, it’s tough to refute that the byproduct of that is, well, a world with more voices.
Frankly, we could use as many voices as we can muster to drown out the din of flawed, dangerous rhetoric that has all but consumed this presidential election.