Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have been advising South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign on potential hires, Tyler Pager and Kurt Wagner at Bloomberg reported Monday.
According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg and Chan first reached out to the Buttigieg campaign in April, not long after he entered the race. Zuckerberg and Chan both individually sent names to Buttigieg’s campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl. So far, two of the recommended staffers have been hired. Although Zuckerberg initiated contact, a spokesperson for the Chan-Zuckerbergs told Bloomberg that the campaign asked for hiring recommendations.
Representatives for Zuckerberg and Buttigieg did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.
The spokesperson told Bloomberg that Zuckerberg has not chosen who to support for president, but many democratic candidates have been critical of Facebook so far in the race. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made breaking up big tech companies, including Facebook, a cornerstone of her campaign, which has forced other candidates to address their stances on the issue. While Buttigieg has noted that he’s worried about privacy and data ownership, he does not plan to break up tech companies.
Warren and Facebook have even had a back-and-forth debate on Twitter. Warren is one of several candidates who criticized the platform’s policy of running political ads with misinformation. In an unusual move, Facebook directly called out Warren on Twitter, to which Warren responded “You’re making my point here. It’s up to you whether you take money to promote lies.”
Zuckerberg has not donated to any 2020 candidates yet, although he did give $5,000 to Facebook’s PAC in June, which supports candidates from both major parties, Bloomberg reported. The CEO has also been under fire for hosting off-the-record private dinners with conservative politicians and journalists, saying “hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning.” However, Zuckerberg has not been popular with some conservatives, who accuse him of censoring conservative voices on Facebook.
All of these incidents have made this a rough year for Zuckerberg. He is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on October 23 about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency and advertising policies.