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Mark Zuckerberg takes veiled shot at Trump at F8 conference

The Facebook CEO rejects "fearful voices calling for building walls," in the most political speech he's ever given.

Mark Zuckerberg makes a plea for togetherness during his F8 keynote speech.
Mark Zuckerberg makes a plea for togetherness during his F8 keynote speech.
Juan Garzón/CNET

For Mark Zuckerberg, politics was just as important as product announcements during his biggest speech of the year.

The Facebook CEO even took a shot at Donald Trump.

Kicking off the social network's F8 developer conference, Zuckerberg rejected calls to build more walls that separate people. It was a none-too-veiled shot at the Republican presidential front-runner, who's promised to build a wall along the US border with Mexico if he gets elected.

"I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others," Zuckerberg said onstage. "If the world starts to turn inwards, then our community will just have to work even harder to bring people together."

Trump has previously attacked Zuckerberg, calling the tech CEO's push for more-open immigration through his public interest group Fwd.us a bad move for American workers. On Tuesday, Zuckerberg countered with a broad mission for Facebook to connect people.

"Instead of building walls, we can help people build bridges," he said. "Instead of dividing people, we can help bring people together."

Zuckerberg later wrote on his Facebook page that the speech, with its more political tone, was "different from any other speech" he's given.

"It's about having the courage to choose hope over fear," he wrote. "This isn't about any one person or country. It's a worldview about connecting all people and nations."

Over the past several years, Zuckerberg has become one of the world's most influential people. He's met with world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. He's also spoken out about issues as varied as the Syrian refugee crisis and vaccinations.

"As I look around and as I travel around the world, I'm starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and global community," he said onstage.

"You have to be optimistic to think you can change the world," he continued. "I hope that we have the courage to see that the path forward is to bring people together, not push people apart."

Update, 4:42 p.m. PT: Adds more quotes from Zuckerberg's keynote presentation and Facebook post.