As Facebook preps for 2020 election, Zuckerberg helps Buttigieg with campaign hires

The Facebook CEO has some suggestions for Mayor Pete.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
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Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is getting a bit more active in this election cycle. 

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  dipped his toe into politics by offering some help to Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign. Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, sent emails suggesting several individuals for Buttigieg to hire for his campaign, according to a report from Bloomberg on Monday. In the past, the social media founder has typically limited his political involvement to donations to candidates. 

A spokesperson for Zuckerberg and Chan says the individuals who were recommended asked the Facebook CEO to pass along their names to the candidate months ago.

"Having seen Mark's visit to South Bend 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," said spokesman Ben LaBolt on Monday. "Mark and Priscilla have not decided who to support for president."

Of the suggested hires, two were brought onto the campaign: Eric Mayefsky, senior digital analytics adviser, and Nina Wornhoff, organizing data manager. The South Bend, Indiana, mayor is currently in fourth place in the Democratic race for 2020, according to The New York Times and has a staff of 430 people nationally.

Facebook and Zuckerberg have been under fire with the 2020 election looming. Last week, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook began trending when the Facebook CEO confirmed a report he had dinners with conservative talk show hosts and journalists and at least one Republican lawmaker. He also defended his decision to allow politicians to lie in their political ads on Facebook

In a segment with NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt that aired during the Today Show on Monday, Zuckerberg responded to the recent criticism aimed at him and his company. 

"I get that a lot of people are angry at us," he told Holt Monday. "Part of growing up for me has just been realizing that it is more important to be understood than it is to be liked, and I believe it very strongly. And I do think that people can make up their own minds about me or the work that we're doing, but this is who I am."

Facebook on Monday introduced measures to prevent election interference. Zuckerberg said Facebook disrupted more than 50 attempts to interfere with elections.  

Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is a vocal proponent for breaking up Facebook. When asked about Zuckerberg helping Mayor Buttigieg's campaign on Monday, she reportedly emphasized her point about the social media platform being too powerful. 

"Look, my views on Mark Zuckerberg are pretty clear," Warren said, according to a tweet posted by a CNN reporter. "He runs a company that has too much political power. They already have way too much influence in Washington, and they are helping drive every conversation in a way that will protect Mark Zuckerberg and his company, but that undermines our democracy." 

Earlier in October, Warren ran a false political ad saying Zuckerberg endorsed President Donald Trump to point out Facebook's policy of allowing ads with false info to be shown. 

Originally published on Oct. 21, 7:30 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:47 a.m. PT: Adds background details. 12:49 p.m. PT: Adds Sen. Warren's comment. 

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