Mark Zuckerberg Helps Build Pickup Trucks at Ford Plant In Michigan

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company’s annual F8 developer conference
(Photo: Noah Berger, AP)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent time working on a Ford assembly line Thursday, and may send pickup truck buyers searching for his autograph.

In a long note posted on Facebook that ended with a smiley face, the tech executive wrote that his first stop was at the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn, where he met with the automaker’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, and helped assemble some new F-150 pickups “by adding antennas, cleats and drilling screws.”

“I even signed the inspection sticker on one,” Zuckerberg wrote. “You’re welcome, future F-150 owner.”

The trip was part of his New Year’s resolution to connect with more Americans and mend what he said were societal divisions wrought by technology and globalization. Zuckerberg has said he plans to visit and meet people in every state by the end of the year.

“After a tumultuous last year,” he posted, “my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future.”

Ford officials confirmed Zuckerberg’s visit and meeting, but it is unclear how long it had been scheduled. It came on the same day Ford announced first-quarter profits.

“He chose to come to Michigan this week, and meet with our employees to learn about their work and how they are incorporating new technology and innovation into their business,” Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said in an e-mail to the Free Press. “Bill Ford took him for a tour of the Dearborn Truck Plant, showing him how we are using advanced sustainable manufacturing in our operations.”

Krusel said Zuckerberg spent time talking with employees, and then went to Ford’s product development center, where he rode in a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle and met with Ford CEO Mark Fields “to get a feel for how the company is preparing for the future as it transforms to be an auto and mobility company.”

Zuckerberg posted photos of himself working and listening at the pickup plant in his signature gray T-shirt.

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Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press