Mark Zuckerberg agreed with Bernie Sanders when the potential presidential candidate said billionaires shouldn’t exist.
Yes, you read that right. Zuckerberg, the guy who invented that little website called Facebook, doesn’t think billionaires should be a thing.
To be clear, the Facebook CEO has a net worth of about $69.8 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world, as per The Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
His comments came after Sanders spoke about billionaires to The New York Times, saying:
I don’t think that billionaires should exist. I hope the day comes when they don’t.
As the 78-year-old is essentially saying he wants billionaires to either lose money or disappear off the face of the Earth, you’d think those who have enough money to qualify for the title would be a bit peeved.
However, Zuckerberg surprised people with his response when he addressed the comments during a town hall event at Facebook’s headquarters on Thursday.
A Facebook software engineer raised the topic when he asked the CEO what he thought of Sanders’ stance. His question reportedly made Zuckerberg and some employees laugh and he seemed hesitant to answer at first, saying, ‘It’s a good question… Alright.’
According to The New York Post, the 35-year-old went on to agree with Sanders, saying:
I understand where he’s coming from.
I don’t know if I have an exact threshold on what amount of money someone should have, but on some level no one deserves to have that much money.
I mean, if Zuckerberg doesn’t think he deserves to have his billions of dollars I’d be more than happy to take some off his hands. I probably don’t deserve it either, but it would certainly come in handy.
The CEO went on to justify wealth to an extent, saying, ‘I think if you do something that’s good, you get rewarded,’ although he admitted there’s a point when things get excessive, adding, ‘I do think some of the wealth that can be accumulated is unreasonable’.
Perhaps as a means of explaining his self-conflicting opinion on Sanders’ beliefs, Zuckerberg noted that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have pledged to give away 99 per cent of their Facebook shares over their lifetimes through philanthropy.
He went on to say that while he had no answer for criticisms about him choosing what he does with his wealth, the alternative would be to have the government handle the money, which could in turn ‘deprive the market’.
We’re funding science, for example. And some people would say, ‘Is it fair that a group of wealthy people get to, to some degree, choose which science projects get worked on?’ I don’t know how to answer that exactly.
The alternative would be the government chooses all of the funding for all the stuff. What I worry about a little bit when I hear sentiments like what the senator suggested, is the suggestion that this should all be done publicly, I think, would deprive the market and world of a diversity of different attempts that can be taken.
As part of his campaign to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, Sanders has said he’s going to ‘take on the billionaire class’ to ‘substantially reduce wealth inequality in America’.
Zuckerberg might have really put his foot in it if Sanders comes to take him down. The CEO has already admitted he shouldn’t exist – he can’t go back now.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.