Conservative billionaire Peter Thiel to resign from Facebook’s board ‘to support pro-Trump candidates’

The billionaire venture capitalist was one of Facebook’s few prominent conservative voices and a key ally of Donald Trump in Silicon Valley

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The billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel plans to resign from Facebook’s board of directors after nearly 18 years, reportedly to focus on conservative politics.

Facebook, now known as Meta, said on Monday that Mr Thiel would not stand for re-election to the board and would depart after this year’s annual shareholder meeting.

A source closed to the PayPal co-founder told The New York Times that he was quitting in order to devote himself to fundraising for candidates who support Donald Trump in this year’s US midterm elections.

Mr Thiel’s departure marks the end of his long tenure as Meta’s most prominent right-wing voice, having first joined the board in 2005 after investing $500,000 (£370,000) in the nascent social media company.

Mr Thiel’s philanthropic foundation and the Founders Fund, a venture capital firm where he is a partner, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Independent.

Meta’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said: “Peter has been a valuable member of our board and I'm deeply grateful for everything he has done for our company – from believing in us when few others would, to teaching me so many lessons about business, economics, and the world.

“Peter is truly an original thinker who you can bring your hardest problems and get unique suggestions.... we've always known that at some point he would devote his time to other interests. I'm grateful he's served on our board for as long as he has, and I wish him the best in his journey ahead.”

Mr Thiel said: “It has been a privilege to work with one of the great entrepreneurs of our time. Mark Zuckerberg's intelligence, energy, and conscientiousness are tremendous. His talents will serve Meta well as he leads the company into a new era.”

A source told Bloomberg News that Mr Thiel will now focus on electing Republicans who support Mr Trump’s agenda, including Blake Masters and JD Vance, two Senate candidates to whom Mr Thiel donated $10m each last year.

Mr Thiel, 54. whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $2.6bn, was one of Meta’s earliest investors after making his fortune as one of the so-called “PayPal mafia”.

Since then he has become a leading conservative voice in Silicon Valley, having once argued that “freedom and democracy are [in]compatible” and appearing on stage at the Republican National Convention in 2016 to endorse Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

In 2019 he reportedly organised a private dinner for Mr Zuckerberg with Mr Trump, as well as other dinners with right-wing influencers and activists, and was reportedly among the voices close to Mr Zuckerberg urging him not to fact-check political adverts in the 2020 election.

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