Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, smiles at South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg for asking for Buttigieg as a politician in a surprise visit to South Bend, Indiana on April 29, 2017.
Michael Caterina | South Bend Tribune | AP
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has made private recruitment recommendations to presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. The Indiana Democrat campaign confirmed on Monday that the big tech manager played a bigger role in the 2020 election than previously known.
Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recommended two people to be hired earlier this year, campaign campaigner Chris Meagher said. The recommendations came "around the start when we got a ton of incoming CVs," Meagher wrote in a text message, confirming a report by Bloomberg News.
The proposals are noteworthy because they are being scrutinized on the social media platform. Senator Elizabeth Warren, another Democrat contender, has threatened to smash the company and other technology giants, while Conservatives accused Zuckerberg of censoring right-wing voices and was criticized for refusing to run for President Donald's re-election Remove Trump that contained incorrect information.
The company claimed to take action to respond to the criticism. Zuckerberg is expected to testify on Wednesday to House House legislators on the implications of Facebook for the financial services and housing sectors.
Buttigieg has criticized Facebook and the other big-tech platforms, though he has not gone as far as Warren. In April, Buttigieg announced that he would enable the FTC to take a more regulatory role in relation to Facebook and the other platforms. In May, Buttigieg said Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes had "very convincingly argued" that Zuckerberg and other tech managers had too much power. Hughes has since left the company.
The two people who recommended Zuckerberg and his wife are now on the staff, according to Meagher. Both roles seem to involve working with technology. Eric Mayefsky works as Senior Digital Analytics Advisor and Nina Wornhoff acts as Data Management Organizer.
Wornhoff joined the campaign in April after working as a machine learning engineer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Mayefsky joined Quora in June as Director of Data Science. Previously, he worked on Facebook from 201
Wornhoff and Mayefsky did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
"Since the beginning of the campaign, we have built a leading-edge operation with more than 430 employees in South Bend and across the country," Meagher said in a statement to Bloomberg. "The employees come from all walks of life and everyone works hard every day to choose Pete in the White House."
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, has done well in donors since his unofficial nomination of his president in Silicon Valley bid in January.
His connections to Zuckerberg date back to his studies: Buttigieg attended Harvard University, while Zuckerberg built a Facebook from his dormitory. Buttigieg eventually became the 287th user of the platform. The two met years later, when they were introduced by a mutual friend, according to Bloomberg.
Zuckerberg broadcast a livestream from a tour in 2017 when Buttigieg drove him through South Bend.
A personal spokesman for Zuckerberg and Chan said the couple's colleagues would have requested the referrals.
"After seeing Mark's visit to South Bend in 2017 and Facebook Live with Mayor Buttigieg, they later asked Mark and Priscilla to link them to the Buttigieg campaign because they were interested in becoming a member." Spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement
He noted that the couple had not yet decided in favor of a candidate.
Facebook did not respond to a CNBC request for comments.