Facebook Hired An In-House Pollster To Track Zuckerberg's Approval Ratings

When Travic McGinn showed up for an interview at Facebook last year, he was hoping to make slightly more money working in market research than he did at Google, his then-current employer.

Instead, the company surprised him with an unusual request. Would he instead be interested in a job as Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg's personal pollster?

He accepted, and before long, he was measuring public opinion on everything from Zuckerberg's speeches, to Facebook's association with Sandberg's "Lean In" movement.

Zuck

McGinn, who shared his story with the Verge, is only the latest person to suggest that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might be planning a presidential run in 2020. Zuckerberg has mostly rebuffed questions about his intentions.

When he started the job, McGinn was hopeful that he might be able to change the culture at Facebook. But he quickly became disillusioned when he discovered just how much influence Zuckerberg exerts over the company...and it's users...

"I joined Facebook hoping to have an impact from the inside," he says. "I thought, here’s this huge machine that has a tremendous influence on society, and there’s nothing I can do as an outsider. But if I join the company, and I’m regularly taking the pulse of Americans to Mark, maybe, just maybe that could change the way the company does business. I worked there for six months and I realized that even on the inside, I was not going to be able to change the way that the company does business. I couldn’t change the values. I couldn’t change the culture. I was probably far too optimistic."

As the Verge pointed out, it's not unusual for companies to conduct polling on executives. For example, Uber board members used polling on former CEO Travis Kalanick to try to persuade him to quit...

Facebook is not unique among tech companies in conducting surveys to gauge perceptions about its brand. Sometimes, those surveys include questions about founders and CEOs. Amid its own crisis last year, Uber surveyed customers on their opinions about the brand and about its former CEO Travis Kalanick. (Perceptions of Kalanick were so negative that the board used the data in an effort to persuade him to quit, according to a report in Bloomberg last month.)

...But it is unusual to hire a full-time staff member dedicated to doing just that.

But it is unusual for a company to have a staff person charged exclusively with monitoring perceptions of its CEO full time. Facebook began monitoring Zuckerberg’s perception about two years ago, a spokesman says. The move reflects his close association with Facebook’s brand and his role as the company’s chief spokesman. Zuckerberg regularly posts announcements on his personal Facebook profile, which has more than 102 million followers. Understanding how Zuckerberg’s posts and speeches resonate globally could help the company navigate a difficult period in which it has faced stern criticism from lawmakers, regulators, journalists, and average users.

Of course, Facebook declined to comment on the story and neither Zuckerberg or Sandberg have said anything. And Zuckerberg has refused to rule out running in the past...

 

Comments

takeaction Tue, 02/13/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

Hey new ZUCKERBERG pollster...Fuuuuuuuuuuuu

RATE THAT...

I spent approx $20,000 last year with facebook, and it works amazing....this year I am cutting back to close to ZERO because of the politics on his site.  I know many businesses that are following suit.

.

My gut feeling is now would be the time to SHORT this stock.  He got lucky...it caught on...and will end up like myspace.

Albertarocks Tue, 02/13/2018 - 19:55 Permalink

I don't think Zuckerberg should give a run at the presidency much consideration at this point.  Especially in light of the fact that he won a recent CNN poll in which people were asked the following question: "Given the opportunity and the green light, of all men on the planet which one would you most like to in the balls?"

Albertarocks ejmoosa Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:41 Permalink

I have never been to Facebook so I don't understand how any of that stuff works on that demonic site.  I've never been a member, I never looked up a name, never even clicked on a link that would have taken me to Facebook.  The day I first heard about it I just envisioned it as real bad news.

In reply to by ejmoosa

MK ULTRA Alpha Jethro Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:12 Permalink

Zuckerberg for President 2020.

With his chicken in every pot monthly stipend give away, it's now the new normal, cities in California have an allowance for citizens. Just apply for your monthly Zuckerberg stipend.

Zuckerberg bought my vote, free money for everyone. The federal government will hand out a check to anyone who applies.

Zuckerberg "We are the world..." Open Borders is what the 45 million new foreigners and 30 million illegals want, who are now allowed to vote.

Zuckerberg for President 2020. The New Normal.

In reply to by Jethro

Consuelo Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:27 Permalink

'No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public...'

 

And with that - yes, Zuckerberg does indeed have a shot at the presidency...

GassedUpOldMan Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:40 Permalink

I would assume he wants up-to-date knowledge on what people think of him and what Facebook is doing. Change the company's direction relative to popular opinion. Nothing suspicious about that.

DIGrif Wed, 02/14/2018 - 03:32 Permalink

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Put that in your damned poll. I hate that little bastard.

Faeriedust Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:24 Permalink

Overprivileged and naive.  He probably comes off as sweet and sincere in private among his own economic equals.  Personally, though, I wouldn't trust him to feed my cat for the weekend.  I doubt he knows how to use a manual can opener.