Editors' pick: Originally published April 27.Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump are great for one another, even if it's something neither wants to acknowledge. Both Zuckerberg and Trump are benefiting from the latter's unexpected run at the Republican nomination; and Facebook's positive first-quarter results support the theory.
The Facebook (FB) CEO and GOP frontrunner have traded barbs in recent months. Zuckerberg took a thinly-vailed swipe at Trump at Facebook's F8 developer conference in April, referencing his Mexico border wall campaign promise and telling the audience, "Instead of building walls, we can help build bridges." Facebook employees have reportedly floated a poll internally to ask Zuckerberg whether they should stop the real estate magnate from reaching the White House. Trump, for his part, calls out Zuckerberg by name in his immigration plan in his proposal to curb the H-1B visa program, of which the Facebook founder is a major proponent. He refers to dropout Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio as Zuckerberg's "personal senator."
But despite the hoopla, Zuckerberg and Trump are a match made in heaven. The fervor Trump has brought to this political season is driving engagement, advertising opportunities and, in turn, revenue -- not to mention ad spend from the candidate himself. And Facebook has given Trump a major platform for getting out his message, both free and paid.
The U.S. presidential election was the most talked-about issue on Facebook in 2015, not only in the United States but worldwide -- something that can be attributed, at least in part, to Trump's presidential candidacy and incendiary comments on the campaign trail. As Wired notes, the presidential election didn't even make the top 10 back in 2011.