Mark Zuckerberg says state visits do not mean he is running for public office

(JTA) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his current attempt to visit every U.S. state and learn about people’s hopes and challenges is not a signal that he his running for public office.

Zuckerberg made the statement Sunday in a Facebook post from Rhode Island, his latest state visit in a string of unannounced appearances.

“My personal challenge this year is to visit every state I haven’t spent time in before to learn about people’s hopes and challenges, and how they’re thinking about their work and communities,” he explained.

“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office. I’m not.”

Zuckerberg said his biggest takeaway from the visits “is that our relationships shape us more than we think — how we consider opportunities, how we process information, and how we form habits. There is a lot of discussion about inequality, but one under-looked dimension of inequality is in the makeup of our social networks.”

He said the idea that “your relationships shape your path more than we realize” is an area where Facebook “can make a difference.”

Zuckerberg wrote: “Facebook has been focused on helping you connect with people you already know. We’ve built AI systems to recommend ‘People You May Know.’ But it might be just as important to also connect you with people you should know — mentors and people outside your circle who care about you and can provide a new source of support and inspiration.”

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