Facebook's Zuckerberg gives himself a label
September 18th, 2013
05:24 PM ET
9 years ago

Facebook's Zuckerberg gives himself a label

Updated 9/18/13 5:42pm E.T.

Washington (CNN) – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg declined any traditional political label while in Washington stumping for his pro-immigration reform group, saying that rather than Democrat or Republican, "I'm pro-knowledge economy."

The multibillionaire took part in a forum Wednesday with Atlantic magazine editor James Bennet, commenting on his immigration group, FWD.us, along with the future of Facebook and the impact revelations that the U.S. government tracks some American activity online have had on the trust people place in their social media.

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On his political views, Zuckerberg spoke of the transition from an industrial economy with zero-sum games that have winners and losers to a "knowledge economy" where two people can have the same information without being in competition, hence his moving away from a right or left stance.

As for immigration, which is why he's in D.C., Zuckerberg said that the sometimes controversial tactics of FWD.us, using attack ads and supporting pro-immigration politicians with stances that may be unpopular, are still in the early phases.

"There's been a lot to debug in making this work," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg: Concerns were expressed about immigration lobbying

Zuckerbeg called immigration an incredibly complicated issue and that FWD.us is not trying to push the specifics of the law. Rather, it is trying to "support folks who need to take controversial positions," both Democrats and Republicans.

For Zuckerberg, support of immigration reform is both an ideological and business decision, he said, with the tech industry arguing that skilled laborers need to be able to get into the country more easily. FWD.us is supported by a number of Silicon Valley CEOs.

Zuckerberg kicks off tech lobbying push on immigration

Ideologically, Zuckerberg said he was motivated by the students he's taught in an afterschool program, many of whom he learned were undocumented.

"The more I looked into this the more unfair it seemed," he said.

He said he was "optimistic" of the chances for reform. "But I'm an entrepreneur," he said.

Zuckerberg is expected to spend much of the day Thursday meeting with members of Congress.

When it comes to partisan divide, Zuckerberg said he sees less of that on immigration. But on other matters, perhaps there is a reason few things get done. "The system is setup to avoid making catastrophic mistakes," Zuckerberg said. When there's little or no consensus on an issue, "there's fewer things that should get done."

As for the government surveillance programs that have involved queries with some of the county's biggest technology companies including Google and Facebook, Zuckerberg said that "the more transparency the government could do," on exactly the information being queried, "the better anyone would feel about it."

That is why Facebook is currently suing the federal government to be able to release precisely how many times the social media company has been asked for user data. And the company has frequently pushed back on requests it feels to be too broad, Zuckerberg said.

When revelations of the government surveillance came to light, public trust in their online privacy dropped as well, Zuckerberg said.

Filed under: Facebook • Immigration
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. A Kickin' Donkey

    Translation . . . I'm a Democrat but I don't want to incite the hyperpartisan sniping that is common today. Members of " the Stupid Party" are definitely NOT pro-knowledge.

    September 18, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Truth Be Told

    This guy stole the idea for Facebook. He must be a Democrat. Nothing but thieves.

    September 18, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    Pro-knowledge = Democrat

    Pro-ignorance = Republican

    September 18, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. anonymoose

    Ideologically, Zuckerberg said he was motivated by the students he's taught in an afterschool program, many of whom he learned were undocumented.

    undocumented = ILLEGAL ALIEN. You were associating with CRIMINALS. Wny are the left wingers always trying to rewrite the language and the meaning of everything? Maybe to confuse and deceive people?

    September 18, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Another Way to Look at It

    Pro-baby murder = Democrat

    Pro-baby = Republican

    Pro-criminal = Democrat

    Pro-victim = Republican

    Pro-government control = Democrat

    Pro-freedom = Republican

    September 18, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Data Driven

    I sort of have contempt for this.

    There is probably only one thing I've agreed with Ann Coulter on, and that's contempt for people who refuse to pick an ideological side on public policy. While no one side has the monopoly on wisdom, it's only logical that one side is MOSTLY right about stuff. For me, that's the Left.

    Fine, Zuckerberg, don't call yourself a Democrat or Republican - I don't, either. But at least be a conservative or a liberal. Not doing so shows a pretentious belief that you're "above it all", or that you're not very educated about the news of the day ... or, as I suspect in your case, you don't want to offend shareholders.

    "Pro-knowledge economy" - blech! Word-salad! Pick a side! One of them's right! Sit on the fence, and you will never be.

    September 18, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    I think forward looking people need to leave behind the business-as-usual Democrats AND Republicans. This single joint party has been running the show too long. And the Democrats have clearly shown they prefer the Status Quo over progressive progress. And now that we see Obama as the War president he is, we need to leave that whole club behind. Good for M.Z. Dem + Repub = dinosaurs.

    September 18, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. boungiorno

    be the SOLUTION not the PROBLEM

    September 18, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    His label, is........Traitor to the workers of America.

    September 18, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Cephus

    Mark knows better than those old men in congress today.

    September 18, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. Voter

    He just wants cheap H-1b guest guest workers to lower wages and replace U.S. workers

    September 18, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  12. Michael Benjamin

    Start coding Zuck maybe you can come up with an algorithm that will satisfy both sides of the argument.

    September 19, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  13. Richard Long

    Typical democrat elitist who would rather stroke their own high-and-mighty egos than deal with reality. Reality = the experts have no idea of how many illegal immigrants are currently in the country. Estimates jump from 12 million to 20 million from story to story. Then there is the flood waiting to cross the boarder as soon as the coast-is-clear. All their predictions on how-good-amnesty-will-be will be worthless as school systems are overwhelmed, hospitals are congested, services are cut and taxes are raised to pay for the surge on food stamp usage, etc., etc., etc.
    So while the rest of us deal with the devastation brought upon by the illegal immigrant invasion, the Zuck will be sitting on his yacht with our a care in the world.

    September 19, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |