Bush and Zuckerberg bond on 'the Facebook'

One of them sometimes gets called the most powerful man in the world; the other is George W Bush. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has broken bread with the retired President of the US, revealing that despite their 40-year age gap and divergent political backgrounds, the duo have more in common than you might expect.

In an hour-long chat from Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters, broadcast on the website, Mr Bush, who is touring the country promoting his memoir Decision Points, compared his eight years in the White House with Zuckerberg's shorter, stratospheric period at the helm of the world's most successful social networking website.

Both men have used gut instincts to make quick and difficult decisions based on common sense, he argued. Both share a passion for education, the cause for which Mr Zuckerberg recently announced a $100m (£64m) personal donation. And both have grown used to the wrath of critics. "There's a lot of criticism about," said Mr Bush, looking his young companion directly in the face. "You know what I'm talking about?"

The 43rd President, who took questions from Facebook users, company employees, and from Zuckerberg himself, discussed everything from the recent Wikileaks scandal to the merits of Apple's latest consumer gadgets. And he was blunt about why he had travelled to California's famously liberal left coast: "Because you've got a lot of people paying attention to us, and I'm trying to sell books."

Mr Bush, dressed in the local business uniform of shirt sleeves, claimed that the founding of the social networking site, unflatteringly chronicled by the film The Social Network, exemplified the best of American entrepreneurship. "I've got over 600,000 friends on my Facebook page and I have watched your company grow. I love a country that enables somebody like you to have a dream and actually make it work and employ a lot of people and give them a chance to create wealth and create jobs."

He claimed that he is an avid user of Facebook, which helps him to keep in touch with former administration colleagues. However, Bush's efforts to sound completely au fait with the internet era were somewhat ruined by a minor "Bushism" – he repeatedly referred to the site as "The Facebook", despite the fact that Mr Zuckerberg dropped the prefix from his company name in 2005.

In further revelatory moments, the former President revealed that he has stopped using an iPod, preferring to listen to birds when he goes on bike rides. He scored brownie points with the techie audience by adding that, after he left the White House, "I became a Blackberry person, and now I'm an iPad person".

Though the comments were well received in the room, it was a different story online. Mid-way through the chat, a counter on the screen revealed that just 6,500 people were watching. Facebook has more than 500 million users.

Click here to donate to HIV/Aids charity EJAF

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all