CLOSE

When Facebook went public several years ago, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg immediately became one of the richest people on the planet. Like an increasing number of the hyper-rich, does he promise to do something useful with all that wealth?
USA TODAY

When a software engineer employed by Facebook asked billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to comment on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders & # 39; position that billionaires would not exist, employees began to laugh.

Facebook CEO and co-founder Zuckerberg also laugh after a moment's pause. Those who participated in Thursday's live-stream inner city hall-style meeting began to support applause.

"That's a good question … Okay," Zuckerberg said.

In the response that followed, Zuckerberg – who, with a net worth of $ 67 billion, is listed by Forbes as the fourth richest American – that he was sympathetic to Sander's views on income inequality.

"I understand where he came from," he said, noting that he couldn't set a threshold for how much wealth is too much.

"At some level, no one deserves to have that much money."

He went on to say that he sees the potential benefits of some Americans' ability to collect even "unreasonable" amounts of wealth as well.

Forbes 400: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are still the richest people in the United States

Facebook encryption: Here is why the government doesn't want Facebook to encrypt your messages

Autoplay

View Thumbnails [19659014] Show Captions

Last SlideNext Slide

He cited his own philanthropic promises as an example: Zuckerberg and Mrs. Dr. Priscilla Chan has promised to give away 99% of her Facebook shares during her lifetime.

Zuckerberg said that although critics might argue billionaires' charitable gifts would benefit the nation more as tax dollars, he says his philanthropy funds scientific research projects that will probably be ignored by the government.

"I think the alternative would be for the government to choose all funding for all things," he commented.

"Part of what is making progress is that people take different approaches to different things," he continued to say.

The exchange occurred on a weekly "internal question and answer" that was publicly streamed live on Zuckerberg's Facebook page. Usually, the sessions are for employees only, but a previous question and answer made this headline this week when Zuckerberg was heard in leaked audio saying he would "go to the mat" to fight efforts aimed at breaking up the social networking giant.

It triggered a response from another hopeful Democratic president: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who defended her plan to break up large tech companies.

Zuckerberg was asked Thursday about Warren's plans and replied, "Let's try not to discourage her further."

On Friday, Warren tweeted a video of the question and the beginning of Zuckerberg's response.

"If Facebook thinks my review is uncomfortable , here's what Mark Zuckerberg and his team were able to work with, " Warren tweeted and listed Protective Consumption's privacy, ensuring that Facebook" does not undermine our election security "and ends" his company's illegal anti-competitive practices. "

Contributions: Kelly Tyko, Jessica Guynn, Brett Molina

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

View Captions

Last SlideNext Slide

Read or share this story: https: //www.usatoday .com / story / money / 2019/10/04 / mark-zuckerberg-weighs-bernie-sanders-attack-billionaires / 3869852002 /