According to a fresh report in The Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s former top executive, who was ousted from the company, may have been sacked due to his support for Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign.
The newspaper cited Palmer Luckey as saying that his donation back in September 2016 to Nimble America, a group that sponsored ads attacking Hillary Clinton, the then Democratic presidential candidate, sparked fury within “liberal” Facebook. This reportedly led to him being pushed out of the company’s management six months later.
Separately, the WSJ reported, citing internal emails and sources familiar with the case, that Zuckerberg had pressured Luckey ahead of the presidential race to publicly root for Gary Johnson, the libertarian nominee at the time. Facebook is among an array of tech companies that has been lambasted recently over its perceived liberal bias, with a fair bit of criticism being voiced earlier by President Trump himself.
He tweeted in August that social media companies were "totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices," and others seem to share that point of view.
Because FB is for Dems & Libs.— Dena Buchanan (@Dsbuchan) 12 ноября 2018 г.
Facebook doesn’t deserve to have Palmer on their team!!!
I see virtually no support for Republicans on Facebook. It’s seen as completely taboo to post anything supporting Trump. If anyone does they risk a backlash from supposed FB friends. Obviously millions of people support Trump, the silent majority will elect him again 2020— 𝕁𝕌𝔻𝔼𝕏 (@JUDEX51249021) 12 ноября 2018 г.
Meanwhile, a Facebook spokeswoman told the WSJ in a statement that the departure of Luckey wasn't due to his political views.
“We can say unequivocally that Palmer’s departure was not due to his political views. We’re grateful for Palmer’s contributions to Oculus, and we’re glad he continues to actively support the VR industry," the spokeswoman said, referring to the former executive’s sale of Oculus, a virtual reality firm, to Facebook for over $2 billion.
Luckey told the WSJ that his brainchild is still the most promising in the industry, and that he wishes them all possible success.
Twitter users, however, seem to be more inclined to side with Luckey, dismissing Facebook’s excuses. One claimed it is a totally “unAmerican” approach.
This is unAmerican. We should respect the beliefs of others. Our choices are our business and should never interfere with our jobs, relations, etc. It’s just wrong!!— Millie Blaxk (@BlaxkMillie) 12 ноября 2018 г.
Not a good sign for those wanting a non-weaponised Facebook.— ❌ Marc Evan Aupiais ❌ (@SACNSNew) 12 ноября 2018 г.
Ironic comments also arrived, with people this way or another confirming tech giants’ political bias.
One even called for “collectively firing Facebook:”
I wish Twitter had a puke button. When can we collectively fire fb?— Bong Bitcoin (@BongBitcoin) 12 ноября 2018 г.
Others suggested that the approach is short-sighted and biased with regard to one of the two parties, with parties to the conflict “picking and choosing when a law is applied.” “That was wrong. We all look the other way if our party is wrong,” one Twitterian stated.
Part 3. Most of us are more moderate than extreme I know there are fiscally conservative Democrats and liberals out there and I am conservative but on some issues I have a liberal view. But we all need to look at issues as to how it affects the whole country, not us or our party— Str8 shooter (@Str8shooter6) 12 ноября 2018 г.
P 5. picking and choosing when a law is applied…is the problem with our country at the moment. When Obama overused the executive order, i opposed. When Trump did same, i,initially felt it was "get even" time. That was wrong. We all look the other way if our party is wrong— Str8 shooter (@Str8shooter6) 12 ноября 2018 г.
The issue of double standards was naturally chewed over by many:
No Discrimination or freedom of speech issues here folks. Just move along and keep repeating the libby mantra. I want all you libs who think, "Well, i hate trump, so i am glad FB fired him." Ok.— Str8 shooter (@Str8shooter6) 12 ноября 2018 г.
So then, if your boss loves trump, and you dont, it is A-ok that she (:)) fires u
Cambridge Analytica Effect: “Probably Zuckerberg Was Looking with Increasing Interest at Politics?”
Pierluigi Paganini, the chief technology officer at CSE Cybsec Enterprise, a member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, has offered his take on the issue. He has expressed certainty that the tech giant is “still facing the effects of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal,” so that it is not totally ruled out that Luckey was indeed fired due to his backing of Trump.
“Anyway, at the time, it is impossible to establish the real reason behind the dismissal. If you ask my personal opinion, I believe that there is a huge story that was still untold, and probably we will never know it,” Paganini noted.
He suggested that it could have been nothing more than a profit-driven move made by the company’s management out of fear to lose the liberal reputation, since Facebook is a private business, largely “driven by money.”
“Likely the decision to fire Palmer Luckey was influenced by the fear of Facebook of possible consequences on its reputation, the image of a company that always endorsed freedom of speech and that built its business on this,” the ENISA member said, adding that whatever the public opinion, companies are run by humans with their own political views and agendas, and Mark Zuckerberg could be no exception:
“Another aspect to consider is that probably Zuckerberg was looking with increasing interest at the politics, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal temporarily halted its politic [sic] ambitions.”