from the another-brick-in-the-wall dept.
Palmer Freeman Luckey was the kind of wunderkind Silicon Valley venerates. When he was just 21, he made an overnight fortune selling his start-up, a company called Oculus VR that made virtual-reality gear, to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014.
But the success story took a sideways turn this year when Mr. Luckey was pressured to leave Facebook months after news spread that he had secretly donated to an organization dedicated to spreading anti-Hillary Clinton internet memes.
[...] And he has a new start-up in the works, a company that is developing surveillance technology that could be deployed on borders between countries and around military bases, according to three people familiar with the plan who asked for anonymity because it's still confidential. They said the investment fund run by Peter Thiel, a technology adviser to Mr. Trump, planned to support the effort.
In an emailed statement, Mr. Luckey confirmed that he was working on a defense-related start-up. "We are spending more than ever on defense technology, yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades," he wrote. "We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer."
Palmer Luckey, a founder of the virtual-reality technology company Oculus, has left Facebook three years after the social network acquired his company for close to $3 billion. Mr. Luckey's departure was announced two months after a trial in federal court over allegations that he and several colleagues had stolen trade secrets from a video-game publisher, ZeniMax Media, to create the Oculus technology. A jury found Facebook liable for $500 million in damages, in part for Mr. Luckey's violation of a confidentiality agreement.
"Palmer will be dearly missed," Tera Randall, an Oculus spokeswoman, said in a statement. "His inventive spirit helped kick-start the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry." Ms. Randall declined to disclose the terms of Mr. Luckey's departure. [...] In January, Facebook appointed a new leader, Hugo Barra, to head up the company's virtual-reality efforts, including Oculus.
Will the first Palmer Luckey documentary be compatible with the next Oculus headset?
A former top executive at Facebook who was ousted from the company may have been fired over his support for Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reported Sunday that Palmer Luckey has recently told people that he was fired for supporting Trump before that year's presidential election. Luckey's donation in September 2016 to NimbleAmerica, a group that funded ads attacking Hillary Clinton, reportedly sparked backlash within Facebook.
Six months after making that donation, Luckey was no longer at the company. The Journal noted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress this year that Luckey's departure had nothing to do with his political beliefs.
According to the Journal, Luckey was first put on leave and later fired. In the fall of 2016, Zuckerberg pressured Luckey to voice support publicly for Gary Johnson, the libertarian nominee in that year's election, the Journal reported, citing internal emails and sources familiar with the conversations.
"Zuckerberg lied to Congress" could become a bipartisan statement.
Also at NBC.
Related: Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey on the Need for "Unlimited Graphics Horsepower"
Facebook/Oculus Ordered to pay $500 Million to ZeniMax
Palmer Luckey Donates to CrossVR Patreon
Oculus Co-Founder Brendan Iribe Leaves Facebook