Mark Zuckerberg is coming clean about something many have suspected for a long time: He doesn't come across as the warmest of people when he's trying to communicate about his company. And he says he's working to change that perception, as well as his interpersonal skills.
The Facebook CEO made the admission in a wide-ranging interview with NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt that was broadcast Monday evening. The interview comes as Facebook as the race for the White House ramps up.
"Historically, I've had a very hard time expressing myself," Zuckerberg said when asked if he was the best communicator for his company. "I just come across as robotic.
"This is one of the things in growing up I need to get better at in running this company," he said.
But his public image problem isn't just his fault, he says.
"I've been in the public eye since I was 19, and a lot of my personal experience has been that people say a lot of false things about you."
Grappling with the public's image of him isn't a new challenge for Zuckerberg. In the 2010 movie The Social Network, actor Jesse Eisenberg portrayed the young Zuckerberg during Facebook's infancy. In its review of the movie, The New York Times noted that "the conspicuous paradox that The Social Network plays with is that the world's most popular social networking Web site was created by a man with excruciatingly, almost pathologically poor, people skills."