Update: A Chan Zuckerberg family spokesperson released the following statement regarding the false tweet:
“Mark and Priscilla have not and will not harm the coral reef along their property. Kauai is a very special place and they value the time their family spends there. In addition to their Kaua`i property being a home, it is also a place where farming, ranching, native plant restoration, conservation, open spaces, and wildlife preservation are held dearly. Mark and Priscilla are committed to helping protect and preserve the beautiful and unique ecosystems of the islands, including Hawaii’s rich marine ecosystems.”
A rumor swirling on Twitter for the past month that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may “detonate a portion of Pilaʻa Reef on Kauaʻi” to build a private marina is false, according to officials at Kauaʻi County and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“We’re all stumped,” said Sarah Blane, Chief of Staff to the Mayor in an email. “All signs point to this being a very sensational rumor.”
Blane added that water and shorelines fall under state jurisdiction.
DLNR Communications Specialist Madison Rice said no one has tried to influence the state agency to extend Zuckerberg’s property past the shoreline and into the water. The billionaire owns a 1,500-acre estate on the North Shore, which was pieced together with multiple land purchases.
On Aug. 28, the Kia‘i Report tweeted that Zuckerberg was trying to extend his land into the ocean to build a private marina for his yacht.
The Kia‘i Report first appeared on Twitter in December 2021 as a grassroots, action network. It is run by Keoni DeFranco, an O‘ahu based activist who supports movements that protect land, water, human and spiritual rights throughout Hawai‘i.
DeFranco said the source of the information for the tweet about Zuckerberg was an internal contact at the Real Property Tax Office on the Garden Isle who wished to remain anonymous.
Despite the anonymous source, the tweet was retweeted more than 111 times, causing alarm with hundreds of comments from concerned residents.
The Kia’i Report has since been updated to clarify that while officials have stated the allegations were false, the report’s source stood by his or her claim that it is a real proposal pushed by Zuckerberg.
When asked what measures would have to be completed to potentially develop the private property into the ocean, Blane said Kaua’i County does not have jurisdiction, but she couldn’t imagine such an extension is even possible.