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Report: Zuckerberg brings on former Clinton pollster for adviser role

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., attends the fourth day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference July 14, 2017, in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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Last Updated Aug 3, 2017 10:18 AM EDT

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is dipping his toes back into the political world with his latest hire -- former Hillary Clinton pollster, Joel Benenson, as a consultant, according to a new Politico report.

Benenson's company, Benenson Strategy Group, will join Zuckerberg, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, to conduct research for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative -- the duo's philanthropic endeavor, according to a person familiar with the new hire. 

The group's priorities currently revolve around science and education-based projects -- including aiding in the funding of research to cure childhood diseases, improving and supporting enabling technologies and empowering communities to provide education across the world. 

"The only way that we reach our full human potential is if we're able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world," Zuckerberg and Chan write on the Initiative's site.  

Benenson was instrumental to both President Barack Obama and Clinton, serving as Mr. Obama's former top adviser and later chief strategist to Clinton's 2016 campaign. 

The Democratic consultant joins another Obama-era alum on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative -- President Obama's senior adviser in the White House, David Plouffe.  

Plouffe currently leads the initiatives's policy and advocacy team, bringing along his experience as campaign manager for Mr. Obama's 2008 run. 

While the hire does not necessarily signal Zuckerberg's entrance to the political arena, it certainly fuels more rumors of a possible run for office. The social media titan continues his cross-country "listening tour" with Americans, even stopping in for surprise dinners to talk about the presidential election. 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital