Under the name NimbleRichMan, Oculus founder secretly funded Reddit users dedicated to electing Trump by flooding threads with negative Clinton memes.
It’s hard to love a 20-something multi-millionaire but Palmer Luckey’s introduction to the mainstream consciousness helped cement his image as the good kind of tech industry titan: the adorkable garage tinkerer we can root for.
There he was on the cover of Time magazine – barefoot and leaping – his arms floppily akimbo – his face obscured by a virtual reality headset and a wire extending down his back like the rattail hairstyle he might have worn if he had been born a decade earlier than he was – in 1992.
That wholesome image was complicated yesterday when the Daily Beast revealed that the Oculus founder has been secretly funding a group of Reddit trolls dedicated to electing Donald Trump by ‘shitposting’ negative memes about Hillary Clinton.
‘We know Hillary Clinton is corrupt – a warmonger – a freedom-stripper.
Not the good kind you see dancing in bikinis on Independence Day – the bad kind that strips freedom from citizens and grants it to donors’ Luckey wrote on a Reddit thread introducing his initiative – using the pseudonym NimbleRichMan.
Luckey’s support for Trump may be unusual in a tech industry that has a tendency to support Democrats but it is his embrace of the dark side of Trump’s internet army that is so alarming.
We may be used to the incredibly wealthy supporting pro-business politicians by writing checks to the Republican party but the full-on embrace of ‘shitposting’ and the bigoted online harassment that so often comes with it is something else entirely.
Shitposting is not intended to add to an online discussion but to shut it down with – well – shit.
It is the opposite of the ideals of good faith – open discussion made possible by the internet.