Zuckerberg’s $100 Million Donation: Goodwill, PR, Oprah?

If you like Mark Zuckerberg, tomorrow should be a great day to watch Oprah. He’s reportedly going to formally announce a $100 million donation to the Newark public school system on the show.

But given the upcoming October 1 release of the much-anticipated film The Social Network, the noise around the move seems to be less about goodwill and more about the donation as an image-enhancing play.

Technorati, which sees Facebook as having “kicked its public relations into high gear,” writes:

While the contribution is no doubt generous and badly needed, it’s timing is clearly suspect as little more than an expensive public relations stunt. It’s just enough to dominate headlines throughout the weekend, and maybe ensure that people at least enter the theater next week with one or two positive thoughts about the controversial young CEO.
And Mashable, while commenting that it’d be great if we could “take the gesture at face value and not taint it with speculation,” notes that “the donation could also be aimed at counteracting any negative stigma that could arise from his new rank on the Forbes 400.” He’s number 35.