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Not Running, But He is Making The Right (Facebook) Friends

Newsweek cover boy Michael Bloomberg's past statement of "I'm not running" has in the past week morphed to "I'm not a candidate." Yes, he's not a candidate. That's a fact. But the billionaire, officially unaffiliated with any political party, could easily become one.

And he's certainly courting the right people. The Trail has learned that the New York mayor is meeting with Facebook founder and social networking "it boy" Mark Zuckerberg today. The mayor's office confirmed the meeting and said that Bloomberg, like many high-profile politicians, has a Facebook profile.

Facebook, whose 44 million membership is growing at a rate of three percent a week, has become a key online political hub. All the major White House hopefuls have a Facebook profile, and the popular social networking site has become a vehicle for users to support their favorite candidate--or target their least favorite.

Fans of Sen. Barack Obama started the craze in earnest early this year, when 26-year-old Farouk Olu Aregbe created a group called "One Million Strong for Barack," which now has more than 392,000 members. Opponents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are using the site to rally their peers. Inspired by Aregbe's group, 22-year-old Stephen DeMaura, created one called "One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary." Last week, it had 533,000 members. As of today, it has 552,000.

In September, Bloomberg set off yet another round of rumors when he posted his Facebook and MySpace profiles on Collectively, his profiles had 303 supporters. Today, he has 122 MySpace friends and 695 Facebook supporters. Quite a jump, but still a long way to go.

Maybe he's getting tips from Zuckerberg?

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

By Washington Post Editor  |  November 9, 2007; 2:34 PM ET
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