“Facebook Inc. executive and virtual-reality wunderkind Palmer Luckey was a rising star of Silicon Valley when, at the height of the 2016 presidential contest, he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group,” Kirsten Grind and Keach Hagey report for The Wall Street Journal. “His donation sparked a backlash from his colleagues. Six months later, he was out. Neither Facebook nor Mr. Luckey has ever said why he left the social-media giant. When testifying before Congress about data privacy earlier this year, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg denied the departure had anything to do with politics.”

“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,” Grind and Hagey report. “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.”

“Mr. Luckey, who is 26 years old, hired an employment lawyer who argued to Facebook that it had violated California law, according to people familiar with the conversations, in pressuring the executive to voice support for Mr. Johnson and for punishing an employee for political activity,” Grind and Hagey report. “Then Mr. Luckey and his lawyer negotiated a payout of at least $100 million, representing an acceleration of stock awards and bonuses he would have received through July 2019, plus cash, according to the people familiar with the matter. The stock awards and bonuses were a result of selling his virtual-reality company, Oculus VR, to Facebook in 2014 for more than $2 billion, a deal that netted him a total of about $600 million.”

“Mr. Luckey has been a longtime supporter of Mr. Trump and wrote a letter to the then-reality-television star in 2011 urging him to run for president. Mr. Luckey has told friends that reading Mr. Trump’s book The Art of the Deal at age 13 sparked his entrepreneurial imagination,” Grind and Hagey report. “After the incident, Mr. Luckey became more, not less, political. One month after he left Facebook, he hosted a fundraiser for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. He has since founded Anduril, an Orange County-based tech company focused on using artificial intelligence to protect troops, performing search-and-rescue missions and bringing ‘Silicon Valley thinking and funding to defense,’ according to its website.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

The era of the wild west in social media is coming to an end. — U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), September 5, 2018

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