by Cody McLaughlin - Monday, June 21, 2021
Mark Zuckerberg went viral twice in a week after posting videos and information about his hunting training. Yes, that Mark Zuckerberg. The 37-year-old Facebook founder, chairman and CEO has again made headlines for his fairly new predilection for hunting and the shooting sports.
In a video posted June 7 to his personal Facebook page, Zuckerberg is seen throwing a spear at short-range targets (while inexplicably wearing a hearing protection device) with a caption that reads, “I have a very particular set of skills,” likely a reference to action film “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson. This, just a day after another, albeit deleted, video showing him shooting his compound bow at bowling pins approximately 10 yards in front of him with the caption, “If I were an Avenger, pretty sure I’d be Hawkeye.” Hawkeye is the master archer of the Avengers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie series, who uses a tricked-out carbon fiber recurve bow and arrows as his weapons of choice.
Days later, Zuckerberg was then seen all geared up in camouflage in Hawaii, where he owns 1,300 acres, heading onto the adventurous 11-mile Kalalau Trail to hunt wild boar on a “danger hike.” As the above online screen shot shows, countless media outlets jumped on the story, from the LA Times to London’s Daily Mail.
Zuckerberg’s Hunting History
While this may seem like new, even shocking information to the hunting community, the truth is Mark Zuckerberg has a history, short as it may be, as an adult-onset hunter.
In 2011, Zuckerberg took the Internet by storm with a bold and even respectable challenge to get closer to the meat he eats by eating nothing for the entire year that he did not kill himself. After some hiccups, notably being spotted buying a steak in Palo Alto, Calif., Zuckerberg then decided to re-up his challenge in 2017. Zuckerberg began with a slaughtering session that took out a chicken, goat and pig before eventually moving into hunting, training with a bow and arrow and continuing to hunt with it even after his “challenge” ended. He even reportedly slaughtered a goat and served it to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter.
Fast forward to June 2021 and he seems to have stuck with it, continuing to hunt boar in Hawaii.
Facebook’s Censorship of Hunting and Shooting Content
Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, is notorious among the hunting and shooting sports community for its brutal policing of related content, often banning subscribers’ accounts for posting hunting-related content or labeling it as “inappropriate.” Many social media platforms do the same—but they do not boast a CEO who is an avid hunter.
As reported by this NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website, NRAHLF.org, as recently as 2020, hunting consultancy The Hunting Consortium LTD was banned from Facebook after approximately 1,500 of its hunting photos were removed from the platform due to “community standards violations.” In policing the company’s content and that of other hunter-backed businesses, it even went as far as to ban its website from being shared on the platform at all. A quick perusal of the ensuing “#stophuntingcensorship” hashtag on the platform reveals scores of other examples of users being targeted by the platform. Many users left comments on the Hunting Consortium LTD’s posts, as well as shared their own hunting photos, urging others to “be proud of hunting and conservation”.
All things considered, Zuckerberg’s detractors among the liberal class will try hard to shame him for his passion for hunting—indeed, the sneering commentary in the articles about it in mainstream media are already displaying their disdain for the practice. But lest we forget that hunting is, indeed, conservation and Zuckerberg pulled double duty in just one week while chasing the thousands of feral hogs in Hawaii. Like everywhere else where they’ve been introduced, hogs continue to wreak havoc on local ecosystems as invasive species that outcompete local flora and fauna.
More than that, though, Mark Zuckerberg actually does have a “very particular set of skills” as the Chairman and CEO of the greatest current tool in the toolbox for communication. He should be using those skills to better promote the sports he has seemingly adopted as a part of his daily life rather than allowing his platform’s policies and tendencies to skew left and smother all-American hunting and shooting sports content.
About the Author
Cody McLaughlin is a conservationist advocate on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He works as a GOP consultant for conservative political causes, managing clients’ digital communications and online presence and as a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, helping to represent the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena.
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