Zuckerberg's Beijing smog jog raises questions on social media

Mark Zuckerberg in Beijing.
Zuckerberg hits Tiananmen Square, sans mask.

You can't accuse Mark Zuckerberg of neglecting to use the social network that made his fame and fortune, and today he's uploaded a shot of him jogging through Tiananmen Square on a trip to China. "It's great to be back in Beijing!" he enthuses in the caption.

All straightforward enough? Not quite: Zuck isn't wearing a mask, despite levels of air pollution in the Chinese capital that are well into the internationally agreed hazardous zone.

"Beijing is my home, but I don't recommend you run outside," suggests one helpful commenter.

If he's not getting flack for running in the smog then he's getting it for being politically insensitive: "The floor you stepped has been covered by blood from students who fought for democracy," offers up another of the users of the social network Mark built.

China in his hand

After the health and political implications of his brisk run through the streets, there are the technical implications to consider - several commentators want to know exactly how he was able to use Facebook through the 'Great Firewall' of China (access to the social network is banned in the country).

And all the Facebook boss wanted to do was get some exercise in. The People's Daily newspaper group was quick to use the photo opportunity to promote the Chinese cause on Twitter: "Mark Zuckerberg shrugs off Beijing's smog Friday by running without wearing a mask" was the caption.

Misguided jog around the block or intentional political statement? It's hard to tell, but the photo is definitely part of a contribution to Zuck's Year of Running endeavour, for which he hopes to run at least one mile every day during 2016. Maybe next time he'll choose somewhere less public to do it.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.