Culture

Zuckerberg talked to Obama while writing his Facebook manifesto

The social network's co-founder may not be running for president, but his manifesto was inspired in part by talking to one.

Zuck, holds a large printed copy of his manifesto as part of a self-effacing joke he's telling to an audience.

James Martin/CNET

When you're about to write a manifesto, and you're one of the world's most influential and powerful people, who do you reach out to for help?

Well, the president of the United States is one option. Apparently, that's exactly what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did while writing his more than 5,700-word treatise outlining how the social networking company can help save the world.

"Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community," he wrote in February.

According to a lengthy profile in New York Times Magazine, Zuck -- as he's called by friends -- worked on the manuscript for weeks and discussed drafts with a cross section of people, including the Times' journalists and President Barack Obama.

What's interesting of course is that this manifesto and his conversations came at a time when talk of Zuck and politics were at a fever pitch. Some people thought he might be gearing up for an eventual presidential run, maybe even against President Donald Trump in 2020.

The facts in favor were piling up: He's become a much better public speaker in recent years, he's begun talking about larger societal issues including programs with the United Nations, talks with world leaders, public disagreement with Trump's border wall and his and his wife's commitment to use their fortune to help fund advances in medicine, education and technology.

Of course, you could argue the presidency would be a step down for Zuck, who has absolute voting control of Facebook and manages a community of more than 2 billion people -- far larger than any country on Earth.

Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the Times story positioned Facebook as trying to become the de-facto community of the future.

"There's a social infrastructure that needs to get built for modern problems in order for humanity to get to the next level," Zuck told the Times. "Having more people oriented not just toward short-term things but toward building the long-term social infrastructure that needs to get built across all these things in order to enable people to come together is going to be a really important thing over the next decades."

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