An article recently published by the Wall Street Journal analyzes why Facebook chose to fire Trump-supporting executive Palmer Luckey. It reveals that Mark Zuckerberg pressured Luckey about publicly supporting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
In an article titled “Why Did Facebook Fire a Top Executive? Hint: It Had Something to Do With Trump,” the Wall Street Journal investigates why Facebook chose to fire Palmer Luckey, one of the companies top executives and founder of Oculus VR. It was during the 2016 presidential election that Luckey’s political views became known after donating $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group called Nimble America, six months after this donation Luckey was out at Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg was asked about Luckey’s firing from the company when questioned by Congress, he denied it had anything to do with politics. However, Luckey claims that following his donation to the anti-Hillary group Zuckerberg pressured him to express his support for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson rather than President Trump:
Mr. Luckey, it turns out, was put on leave, then fired, according to people familiar with the matter. More recently, he has told people the reason was his support for Donald Trump and the furor that his political beliefs sparked within Facebook and Silicon Valley, some of those people say.
Internal Facebook emails suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company. In the fall of 2016, as unhappiness over the donation simmered, Facebook executives including Mr. Zuckerberg pressured Mr. Luckey to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, despite Mr. Luckey’s yearslong support of Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations and internal emails viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Lucker’s firing appeared to be the start of Silicon Valley’s extreme liberal bias being questioned by the masses. The issue of Silicon Valley’s liberal bias became so well known that Zuckerberg was even grilled by Ted Cruz during a hearing before Congress about Luckey’s firing:
Mr. Luckey’s ouster from Facebook was a harbinger of battles that have broken out over the past year over the overwhelmingly liberal culture of Silicon Valley, which has given the tech industry public-relations headaches and brought unwanted attention from Washington.
Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google, a unit of Alphabet , have had to answer questions from lawmakers about potential bias in their treatment of conservative viewpoints. Tech executives concede that Silicon Valley is predominantly liberal—Mr. Zuckerberg said in Senate testimony that it is “an extremely left-leaning place”—yet they have steadfastly maintained that politics doesn’t play a role in how they police content on their sites.
Luckey apologized via Facebook for possibly upsetting those he worked with through his donation to Nimble America and stated that he voted for Gary Johnson, Facebook themselves allegedly advised Luckey on what to say and suggested many changes:
In an apology posted on Facebook that month, Mr. Luckey denied writing the NimbleRichMan posts and said he “contributed $10,000 to NimbleAmerica because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards.”
The post said Mr. Luckey is a libertarian and planned to vote for Mr. Johnson in the election.
“I need to tell you that Mark [Zuckerberg] himself drafted this and details are critical,” Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote to a lawyer for Mr. Luckey in a September 2016 email, attaching an early draft of the statement, according to the emails reviewed by the Journal. The draft said Mr. Luckey wouldn’t be supporting Mr. Trump in the election.
Mr. Luckey has told people he did vote for Mr. Johnson, but only to avoid having his credibility questioned if he was asked about the issue under oath in unrelated litigation.
Read the full article by the Wall Street Journal here.