Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly refused to believe that people thought he was more like Bill Gates than Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos

Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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  • Facebook conducted polling in 2017 to figure out public perception toward CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives, Bloomberg reports.
  • In a presentation about the research, Zuckerberg was labeled a “former innovator” alongside Bill Gates and not considered a “current innovator,” something he reportedly was “incredulous” about.
  • The results of Facebook’s polling were included in a Bloomberg story about how Facebook used special software to track the spread of viral news and hoaxes about the company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly “incredulous” after polling back in 2017 showed that the public considers him an old-school innovator that “once pushed the limit,” alongside Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates.

Bloomberg reports Facebook conducted research following the 2016 presidential election to get an idea of public perception regarding CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives, including COO Sheryl Sandberg. The research on Zuckerberg’s reputation was done in the hopes that improving it could in turn improve the public’s attitude and trust toward the company, Bloomberg reports.

“My team did this research with the goal of convincing him and improving both,” Facebook’s former head of marketing Gary Briggs, told Bloomberg. “In the end, Mark chose not to focus on this much.”

Read more: Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak says most people should ‘figure out a way to get off Facebook’

However, Zuckerberg was shown the research on his public perception, and did choose to pay attention to some of it, Bloomberg says. In an internal presentation about the Zuckerberg-related polling results – which ranged from ratings on his personality traits, to comparisons between the Facebook CEO and rival company executives – one of the slides focused on the public’s view on innovation.

Under “historic innovation,” the faces of Zuckerberg, 35, and the 63-year-old Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, were shown. They were reportedly described in the presentation as people who “once pushed the limit/boundaries to develop something new.” That was contrasted with the names of Tesla founder Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who were considered the new age of “current innovation,” and were “continuing to push the envelope.”

(Seeing Musk named a “current innovator” must’ve stung for Zuckerberg, since the two CEOs have feuded from time to time. The pair has exchanged jabs over the years, and Musk even deleted the Facebook pages for his companies Tesla and SpaceX amid the #DeleteFacebook protest.)

Zuckerberg was reportedly “incredulous” about the slide, and considered the perception of him being a “former innovator” as a “knock” on both him and his social network.

Facebook did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The anecdote about Zuckerberg’s reaction to public polling was included in a Bloomberg story that revealed how Facebook has used special software to track viral stories and hoaxes spreading on their platform about the company itself, including a popular conspiracy theory that claims Facebook listens to your private conversations.

Bloomberg reports that Facebook used this monitoring software to learn what its users thought about the company, and then sometimes issued special alerts to dispute especially viral and untrue stories.