By James Clayton
North America technology reporter

Publishedduration1 hour agoSharenocloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingimage captionFacebook's Mark Zuckerberg and President Biden

Before the Cambridge Analytica story had broken. Before Facebook's acknowledgement that its platform had been used to help incite ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Before the WhatsApp lynchings in India. Before QAnon and the Proud Boys – Mark Zuckerberg had the world at his feet.

So much so in fact, that at the start of 2017 he decided to tour America.

In a Facebook post, he said he wished to "talk to more people about how they're living, working and thinking about the future".

His goal was to speak to people in all 50 states – to get out and engage with real Americans.

It was seen by some as the start of a possible 2020 presidential bid – something he always denied.

His potential candidacy was seriously debated in the press – he had money, drive, and power.

image copyrightvanity fairimage captionThere had been speculation that Mr Zuckerberg would run for president

This week, Joe Biden took the job that many believe Mark Zuckerberg secretly craves, or at least craved. And in doing so, he completed a reverse metamorphosis for Zuckerberg. A butterfly no longer, he finds himself alienated politically.

"He's not a welcome figure at the cocktail party any more. And I don't think he has been for a long time," says Sarah Miller, director of the American Economic Liberties Project. She also happens to be on Joe Biden's transition team.

"There is not a lot of love lost there," she told me. "Facebook is broadly seen as the most prominent villain, among all the tech monopolists."

Obama's administration was considered to be close to Silicon Valley and to Facebook. If Biden was ever a friend, he's not now.

In fact, the president often uses Facebook as a byword for the ills of a free internet gone wrong.

Talking to the New York Times a year ago he said:

"I've never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I've never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he's a real problem."

It's not just Biden. In the days after Biden's election victory, his deputy head of communications, Bill Russo, tweeted:

"If you thought disinformation on Facebook was a problem during our election, just wait until you see how it is shredding the fabric of our democracy in the days after."

image copyrightAFP

Democrats blame Facebook for what happened in 2016. The Republicans' use of Cambridge Analytica to micro-target voters was seen as a crucial component in Trump's victory. Some of the angst is about settling old scores.

But if that was the turning point, relations are even worse now. Since then, Democrats – Joe Biden included – have been appalled by what Facebook has allowed on its platform.

Talking to a CNN anchor in late 2019 Joe Biden said:

"You can't do what they can do on Facebook, and say anything at all, and not acknowledge when you know something is fundamentally not true. I just think it's all out of hand."