Mark Zuckerberg, the fifth richest person in the world with many billions of dollars to his name, said he “understands” where Bernie Sanders is coming from when the Democratic presidential candidate says billionaires shouldn’t exist.
“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,” the Facebook (FB) CEO said during a town hall event at the company’s headquarters on Thursday in response to an employee question about Sanders’ comments.
Zuckerberg currently has a net worth of nearly $70 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has previously pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook shares.
“I think if you do something that’s good, you get rewarded, but I do think some of the wealth that can be accumulated is unreasonable,” he said at the event.
In an unusual move, Zuckerberg decided to livestream the company event after audio from internal meetings conducted in July was leaked and published earlier this week. (He said Thursday that the company believes an intern shared the audio recording.)
“Our internal Q&As at Facebook are one of my favorite traditions, and after the transcript of one of them was published online earlier this week, I thought it would be good to show everyone what these Q&As are like,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his personal Facebook page on Thursday minutes before a broadcast of the town hall event began.
In the leaked audio, obtained by tech site The Verge, Zuckerberg comments on another presidential candidate — Sen. Elizabeth Warren — and admits to employees that the prospect of her as president could “suck” for Facebook, given her promises to break up tech companies.
On Thursday, Zuckerberg was asked how he could stay impartial on presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren following his past statements about her.
“Let’s try not to antagonize her further,” Zuckerberg said of Warren on Thursday. He added: “I would rather have someone get elected, even if I disagree with them on everything, which I don’t even think is the case here, than not give them the ability to say what they think.”
Warren released an aggressive plan earlier this year to break up tech giants like Facebook, Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG).
“You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies,” Zuckerberg said in a meeting with Facebook employees this summer, according to the leaked audio. “If she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah.”
“But look,” he continued, “at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”