Mark Zuckerberg to headline Utah tech summit

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SALT LAKE CITY — Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is slated to headline Utah’s annual tech summit at the end of January.

The Silicon Slopes Tech Summit is a two-day conference hosted by the Silicon Slopes organization and community. Last year, the summit drew 24,000 attendees. Silicon Slopes executive director Clint Betts says this year will far surpass that.

In fact, the organization is only announcing Zuckerberg as a keynote speaker a week before the conference to keep the numbers manageable, he said. This is the conference’s fourth year.

“Mark is clearly recognized as one of the great entrepreneurs of our generation, and we are thrilled to have his insights shared from our stage,” Betts said in an emailed statement. “We look forward to hearing from Mark, especially at a time when Utah’s tech scene is booming and all eyes are on the growth and success we are experiencing."

The Silicon Slopes tech summit has hosted big names before, including baseball star Alex Rodriguez and Sen. Mitt Romney, but never quite at the level of Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg created Facebook with a few fellow students during his time as a student at Harvard in 2004. Since then, the company has grown into a juggernaut and is at the level of Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Since then, Zuckerberg has come under intense scrutiny as issues of privacy swirl around the social media platform.

The tech CEO has appeared before Congress a number of times to speak to Facebook’s privacy, especially after it was revealed that British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles and used it for political advertising purposes during the 2016 election.

For the past several years, the tech world has acknowledged (or at least feigned concern in) customers’ desire for privacy. Whether privacy will be a theme at the tech summit remains to be seen.

Also keynoting at the summit are head of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, AOL founder and Revolution CEO, Steve Case, and JetBlue Airways founder David Neeleman, among others.

The summit will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center Jan. 30-31. Tickets currently cost $195.

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