A new report from The Wall Street Journal this week outlines how Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has recently “transformed himself into an active political operator.” The report includes the tidbit that Zuckerberg has specifically called on lawmakers to increase their scrutiny of Apple.
The Wall Street Journal explains that Zuckerberg has grown to “talk regularly” with White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and has held conversations with President Trump. Zuckerberg’s focus on political relationships comes as Facebook faces new competition and new antitrust scrutiny:
Mr. Zuckerberg’s new political moves are part of an effort to protect his company from pressures that range from antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic to criticism of its privacy practices and of its role in disseminating misinformation and conspiracy theories. Facebook is also facing new competitive threats from the likes of ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok. Forging relationships with political leaders, media personalities and activists is now critical to Facebook’s continued primacy in social media.
In regards to Apple specifically, Zuckerberg is said to have “pressed lawmakers and officials” to scrutinize the company more closely. The Facebook CEO has also put pressure on lawmakers to scrutinize TikTok as well, the report says.
Mr. Zuckerberg maintains an open line with Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. The two sometimes discuss Facebook policies over WhatsApp. The CEO spoke this year with Mr. Kushner and separately with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about TikTok’s U.S. presence, people familiar with the talks said.
Mr. Zuckerberg has also told government officials Apple doesn’t receive as much scrutiny as Facebook even though it owns an operating system used by a large percentage of Americans, people familiar with the discussions said.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Zuckerberg testified to the House Judiciary Committee alongside each other back in July. Recently, Facebook has become a vocal critic of new privacy changes in iOS 14 related to advertising and tracking.
The full report over at the The Wall Street Journal offers additional detail on how Zuckerberg has “learned politics” during the Trump era.