The billionaire co-founder of PayPal and Palantir will no longer serve on the board of directors of Facebook parent company Meta, where he had Zuckerberg’s ear for years (or held Zuckerberg’s leash, depending on who you ask).
When we consider Facebook founder and CEO’s Mark Zuckerberg’s history of having secret dinners with Trump and generally kowtowing to Trump during his administration, it seems pretty obvious that Facebook’s historical acquiescence to our once and future grifter king was shaped largely by Republican megadonor Peter Thiel being on Facebook’s board. After all, Zuckerberg owes Thiel big. Thiel’s 2004 investment in Facebook was its first major investment, and gave the company its then $5 million valuation (back then, that was considered a lot of money!) and effectively started this whole horrible chapter of the internet that is the Facebook era.
That era is not over, but Thiel’s time on the board is. The New York Times reports that Thiel is stepping down from the board of directors of Facebook parent company Meta, a seat which he has held since shortly after that initial investment. The Times reports that Thiel will now turn his attention (that is, his money) toward “backing candidates who support the agenda of former President Donald J. Trump.”
You can see from Thiel’s most recent political contributions that he no longer lives in the Bay Area (woo hoo!) and now donates exclusively to Republicans and Republican PACs. His more recent political leanings include accusing Google of treason and pushing policies that help his surveillance companies. He complains about “Big Tech” a lot even though he is one of its primary architects and beneficiaries, and he once wrote, “I no longer think that freedom and democracy are compatible,” which gives you a sense of the candidates he’s supporting.
And who is he supporting? So far, that’s Hillbilly Elegy author and VC posing as a poor guy J.D. Vance, who’s running for an Ohio Senate seat and getting demolished in the polls. Thiel's also supporting Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who’s selling NFTs to fund his campaign, and I’m sure rural Arizona voters will find all that very relatable.
In other words, it’s a Tucker Carlson-style brand of insanely rich white male elites trying to pass themselves off as hardscrabble common folks. But just as Thiel sued the website Gawker out of existence for publishing verifiable true news, but then claims to be some free speech advocate, Thiel’s formula for spouting obvious contradictions certainly has appeal in today’s Republican party.
Photo: Dan Taylor/Wikimedia