Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus and a former Facebook employee, admitted to CNBC on Wednesday that he was fired from the social network giant a few years ago, saying it was "for no reason".
"I gave $ 10,000 to a pro-Trump group, and I think it's something to do with it," Luckey joked in an interview with CNBC's Deirdre Bosa from the Collision technology conference in Toronto. Luckey added that California, where Facebook is headquartered, is an "at-will" state. Luckey said he identifies himself politically as a libertarian. Much of Silicon Valley would be considered liberal.
Luckey, who sold his virtual reality headset company Oculus to Facebook for $ 2 billion in 2014, left there in March 2017 amid controversy over his political contributions and financial support from far-right groups and Internet trolls. Since then, he founded Anduril Industries, a technology-based defense startup that focuses on national security and artificial intelligence.
Palmer Luckey, founder @ Oculus VR Andutil Industries, on the second day of Collision 2019 at Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada.
Stephen McCarthy | Sportsfile | Getty Images
Until now, Luckey had been relatively quiet about starting, saying to CNBC in 2018, "it wasn't my choice to start" but selling Oculus on Facebook was "the best thing that ever happened to the VR industry, even though it wasn't super fantastic for me. "
Facebook has struggled to gain the trust of users and to bypass requests for new online privacy rules from Washington following a series of missteps in recent years, including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal of 2018 and the evidence that the platform it was exploited by Russian operators who tried to influence 2016 presidential elections.
Luckey said that Facebook's problems will not necessarily disappear by breaking the technology giant or a possible departure of co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg. "These companies are so big, it's easy to put everything on one person," he added. "When you're inside, you realize that replacing a person won't change the way things work."
US politicians, including Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have called for the dismantling of Facebook. Last week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told CNBC that the breakup of the social media company would only give Chinese companies more power.
Luckey agreed on Wednesday with Sandberg. "China will have all the juggernauts," he added. "Everything brings back to China."