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Zuckerberg, Chan Gave Buttigieg Some Advice

Facebook founder and his wife recommended potential hires for campaign staff
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2019 6:10 PM CDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles at South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg after being asked about Buttigieg as a politician as they walk into the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center during a surprise...   (Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – Mark Zuckerberg has yet to make any political contributions or endorsements in the 2020 election cycle, but he has made recommendations to one candidate: Pete Buttigieg. The Facebook founder sent a few emails earlier this year to Buttigieg’s campaign manager offering up suggestions of potential staffers to hire for the campaign, a campaign spokesperson confirms to Bloomberg, which calls it "a rare example of direct political involvement from one of tech’s most powerful executives." Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan, also sent emails with her own recommendations. Two of the people recommended by the couple were ultimately hired. A Zuckerberg-Chan family spokesperson says the employees, one of whom previously worked at Facebook and one of whom previously worked at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, asked the couple to recommend them.

"Having seen Mark’s visit to South Bend [where Buttigieg is mayor] in 2017 and Facebook Live with Mayor Buttigieg, colleagues later asked Mark and Priscilla to connect them with the Buttigieg campaign as they were interested in joining," the family rep says, adding that the couple have not decided who to support in 2020. Zuckerberg later added, per the Hill, "This shouldn't be taken as an endorsement." Buttigieg’s campaign rep says Zuckerberg and Chan initiated the communication, which took place in mid-April, soon after Buttigieg launched his campaign. The news comes as Zuckerberg faces continued scrutiny over misinformation on Facebook, including in political ads; political bias; election meddling; and more. In fact, also Monday, Facebook released new information suggesting the same Kremlin-backed Russian troll group that allegedly interfered in the 2016 US election is attempting to do so again in 2020, CNN reports. (Read more Mark Zuckerberg stories.)

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