As part of his testimony in the Senate for hours, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to assure lawmakers that he had not fired Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey for his political opinions. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Zuckerberg about the 2016 reports that the company had removed conservative political news from its chart of trending stories, and followed with questions about the political opinions of its moderators. When Zuckerberg said he had not asked the employees for their political opinions, Cruz went on to say, "Why was Palmer Luckey fired?"
Cruz is responding to a thorny political mini-scandal of 2016, when The Daily Beast reported that Palmer Luckey was secretly funding a pro-Trump political activism group called Nimble America, dedicated to the idea that "shit is powerful and the magic meme It's real. "Luckey pulled out of the public eye after the details came out, but it's never been clear if he was fired or left voluntarily. He was in Oculus for several months after and "is still working in an active capacity" during that time, according to CEO Brendan Iribe.
"I can commit that it was not for a political opinion."
"That's a specific matter of the staff that it would seem inappropriate to talk here," Zuckerberg told Cruz in response to his question. Cruz answered and asked if it was right that Facebook "did not make decisions based on political opinions," as Zuckerberg had said. "I can confirm that it was not because of a political opinion," Zuckerberg said. This exchange seems to imply that Luckey was fired, but for reasons that were not political. This could still cover a wide range of motivations, and Zuckerberg did not offer any details.
The Daily Beast described Luckey as "funding the Trump meme machine" in 2016, which is an apparent exaggeration since the donation was supposedly a small amount of $ 10,000, and the only clear action of Nimble America was to place a billboard "Too big to jail." The stated aim of the group was "to get our most delicious memes against the Americans, like it or not". (Luckey would later have donated $ 100,000 to Trump's opening fund through screen companies named according to Chrono Trigger references). Critics opposed the event Nimble America was co-founded by r / The_Donald moderators, an extreme pro-Trump Reddit forum that is known for spreading conspiracy theories and virulent intolerance, and for the fact that Milo Yiannopoulos, who promoted the "alt -right "white nationalist, had personally endorsed the group and apparently" investigated "Luckey himself.
Luckey currently runs Anduril, the high-tech security and defense firm. The question about him was a small part of today's audience, but it is a reminder of one of the problems Facebook will face in its attempt to regain public trust.