As the fallout from the horrific shooting in Las Vegas continued to ripple around the country on Monday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a brief statement condemning the shooting and sharing, for him, a strong stance on another hot button political debate: gun control.
On Monday morning, Zuckerberg posted the following message to his Facebook page:
Even as Zuckerberg’s statement — “It’s hard to imagine why we don’t make it much harder for anyone to do this” — isn’t an explicit demand for specific gun control policy, it is one of the few times he’s been willing to wade into the discussion over a volatile political issue and take a side.
He also took the opportunity to promote Facebook’s “Safety Check” feature for the shooting, where users were marking themselves safe. Many users were also posting their willingness to help out those affected by the incident, offering shelter for those who couldn’t get back to their hotels or transportation for those in need.
Though not as politically outspoken as Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook also issued a brief statement on Twitter offering his condolences to those affected by the shooting.
Our hearts are with the victims in Las Vegas, their families and loved ones who are grieving this morning.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 2, 2017
Zuckerberg has rarely been publicly outspoken on political policy with the exception of immigration, for which he voiced his support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and bemoaned its repeal by President Trump.
Less willingly, Zuckerberg has found himself dragged into the political spotlight thanks to allegations that Russian operatives used Facebook to spread fake news ahead of the 2016 election.
Though Zuckerberg initially defended the company, Facebook has recently surfaced thousands of ads said to have been used by the operatives and is working with congressional investigators who are looking into the allegations. For the Yom Kippur holiday, Zuckerberg also posted to his Facebook page to ask forgiveness for the social media platform’s role in the 2016 election.
His statement on Las Vegas shows, perhaps, an evolution on his willingness to comment publicly as well as an understanding of how large a role his platform, and thereby his own voice, plays in the current political climate.