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Here’s where Mark Zuckerberg, would-be presidential candidate, stands on the issues

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Getty Images
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn't running for president.

Zuckerberg says he isn't running. His close colleagues and friends we've spoken to say he isn't running. And quite frankly, he already has pretty amazing influence running Facebook and spending his billions on whatever philanthropic issues he cares most about. Why add all the red tape and drama?

BUT.

Zuckerberg is doing a terrible job of convincing people he isn't running for president. He's in the midst of a year-long tour across America feeding cows and visiting national parks and drinking milkshakes with small business owners.

His trips are planned by former government staffers, he just hired one of Hillary Clinton's chief strategists, and he has President Obama's former photographer traveling around with him taking photos.

He looks, on the surface, like a man trying to snag some prime DC real estate.

So, even though we know he's not running, we went ahead and took a look at where Zuck stands on the issues anyways. A few, like immigration, climate change, and net neutrality, are clearly very important.

So here's a look at candidate Zuckerberg and where he stands. (Seriously, though, he's not running.)

Environment

Climate change

Zuckerberg talks about climate change often, and thinks it's a major concern. It was a theme in his recent commencement address at Harvard, and has been mentioned multiple times during his cross-country travels. "I believe stopping climate change is one of the most important challenges of our generation," he wrote after a visit to North Dakota where he learned about fracking.

Paris climate agreement

Zuckerberg posted publicly condemning President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. "Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's future at risk," he wrote. "Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it's too late."

Renewable energy

Facebook has committed to building all of its new datacenters with 100 percent renewable energy, something that Zuckerberg has posted abut multiple times, and a clear point of pride.

Healthcare

Preventative medicine

Zuckerberg is spending billions of his own money on research to help fight disease, and has been public about his desire for the government to spend more on preventative medicine. When Zuckerberg hired former Obama adviser David Plouffe to run policy for his philanthropic investment company, he wrote: "We need to change that our government spends 50x more treating people who are sick than finding cures so people don't get sick in the first place." He also applauded the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act, a law authorizing billions in spending for medical research projects.

Family leave

Zuckerberg took two months off after the birth of his daughter, Max, and Facebook offers new parents up to four months of leave in the first year of a newborn's life. "Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families," he wrote at the time. Facebook also has a generous bereavement policy.

Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan. The Facebook founder plans to take two months' paternal leave when their baby is born.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan. The Facebook founder plans to take two months' paternal leave when their baby is born.

Opioids

Zuckerberg spent time with opioid addicts earlier this year and called America's so-called opioid crisis "one of the worst public health crises we've faced."

Immigration

DREAM Act

Zuckerberg is a huge supporter of the proposed DREAM Act, which would legally protect the children of undocumented immigrants so they can work or go to school in the United States. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have provided hundreds of college scholarships to Dreamers. "We need a government that protects Dreamers," he wrote back in May. Zuckerberg is also a founding member of FWD.us, an organization of techies focused on immigration reform.

Refugee support

Zuck believes the U.S. should be a safe place for political refugees. Zuck condemned President Trump's so-called "Muslim ban," posting that "The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that." (Zuckerberg's in-laws were also refugees from Vietnam.) After meeting with a group of Somali refugees this summer, he also wrote: "I left impressed by your strength and resilience to build a new life in an unfamiliar place, and you are a powerful reminder of why this country is so great."

Border wall

Safe to say Zuckerberg is against the wall. At the company's F8 developer conference last year, he said: "I hear fearful voices calling for building walls...Instead of building walls, we can help people build bridges."

Justice and equality

LGBTQ rights

Zuckerberg has long been a supporter of gay marriage and celebrated Pride in Omaha in 2017. "Until recently, the Nebraska constitution banned gay marriage," he wrote. "Omaha is more welcoming, but we still have a long way to go." After Trump tweeted that he would try to stop transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, Zuckerberg posted: "Everyone should be able to serve their country -- no matter who they are."

Criminal justice

Zuckerberg is not a big believer in our current prison system. Through CZI, he has donated to an effort to compile more data about U.S. prisons, and criticized the prison system after a trip to a juvenile detention center in Indiana. "The most striking fact is that those kids are more likely to become criminals after going through detention than they were before they went in," Zuckerberg wrote. "The correctional system is building a negative and self-reinforcing social network." He also spent time this summer with a wrongfully convicted death row inmate in Alabama.

Freedom of the press

Zuckerberg likes the first amendment. "I don't always agree with everything you say, but that's how democracy is supposed to work."

Education

Zuckerberg and his wife Chan, who is a teacher, are huge proponents of the concept of "personalized learning," or the idea that all students learn differently and at their own pace. CZI is spending to support this philosophy in the Bay Area. Zuckerberg and Chan also donated $100 million to help revitalize New Jersey's Newark public school system, though that didn't go quite as well as planned.

Technology and internet safety

Encryption

Zuckerberg is a supporter of encryption technologies — not a shock since Facebook owns multiple messaging apps that offer end-to-end encrypted messages. When Apple had a fight with the FBI about unlocking an iPhone following the San Bernardino shooting a few years back, Zuckerberg threw his support behind Apple. "We believe in encryption...I expect it's not the right thing to try to block that from the mainstream products people want to use. And I think it's not going to be the right regulatory or economic policy to put in place."

Net neutrality

Zuckerberg is a strong supporter of net neutrality. "If we want everyone in the world to have access to all the opportunities that come with the internet, we need to keep the internet free and open," he wrote.

Internet accessibility

This is a major priority for Zuckerberg and Facebook. The company has tried to offer free internet services in developing markets in the past, and is currently financing the creation of internet beaming drones, and the laying of fiber cable in Africa.

Artificial intelligence

Zuckerberg and Facebook are building lots of artificial intelligence software, but it's unclear where he falls on the debate around regulation. After Tesla's Elon Musk told a group of America's governors earlier this year that they needed to regulate AI before it was too late, Zuckerberg said Musk's doomsday warnings were "irresponsible."

Economy

Basic income

After a trip to Alaska this summer, Zuckerberg seemed to support the idea of a basic, government-provided income. "Alaska's economy has historically created this winning mentality, which has led to this basic income. That may be a lesson for the rest of the country as well," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Affordable housing

Zuckerberg has called for more affordable housing in the Bay Area, with the great irony being that Facebook (and many other tech companies) are often blamed for the ridiculous high housing prices. Facebook recently unveiled plans for a new campus that will include more than 200 apartments to rent "below market prices."

By Kurt Wagner, Re/code.net.

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