Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he has grown “more religious” after becoming a father and as a result of the “challenges we’ve been through as a company.”
According to Business Insider, Zuckerberg made the comments Friday at a conference in Utah.
When asked about who he turns to as a mentor, the Jewish boss of the social media giant said he has turned to religion.
“I’ve become more religious,” he said, without explicitly mentioning his Jewish faith. “The last few years have been really humbling for me.”
“I think there’s a comfort in knowing and having confidence that there are things bigger than you,” he said. “It’s why I have so much faith in democracy overall, it’s why I care so much about giving people a voice.”
Zuckerberg later clarified: “I did not mean to say that God is a mentor.”
Zuckerberg has posted snippets of his Jewish life in the past.
In a Facebook post in December 2016, he said he was once an atheist but now believes that “religion is very important.” The post came after he wished his followers a “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah” on December 25, 2016.
Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla Chan practices Buddhism. The couple have two daughters — Maxima born in 2015 and August born in 2017.
Facebook announced last week it had a strong fourth quarter, making more money on advertising and adding more users despite challenges around regulation, privacy and efforts to fight election interference.
The company also said it settled a lawsuit filed in 2015 over its facial recognition practices and will pay $550 million as a result. The suit alleged Facebook violated Illinois privacy regulations with a feature that suggested to users other people to tag in their photos. Facebook replaced the tag suggestion tool with a broader facial recognition setting last year.
Facebook is under growing regulatory scrutiny around the world. In the US, it faces several government investigations for alleged anti-competitive behavior. Last August, it was fined $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations, the largest FTC fine ever for a tech company.
Amid ongoing criticism about how Facebook handles the private data of its users Zuckerberg has announced that the company was shifting course for a more “privacy-focused” future. This includes emphasizing small-group and private communication, though details are still scant.
It’s not clear if this privacy focus will mean anything for how ads on Facebook are targeted, which has always been among the chief concerns for privacy advocates.
And Facebook continues to face challenges over election interference. After Russian actors used social media platforms like Facebook to interfere in the 2016 US elections, the companies say they have tried to clamp down on fake accounts, misinformation and other forms of misuse.
Last month the company detailed the steps it said it was taking to secure Israel’s general elections in March, touting greater transparency requirements for political ads and pages on the platform and also increased supervision against the proliferation and spread of fake news and disinformation.