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Donald Trump meme factory secretly funded by Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey

Published 23/09/2016

Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, speaking at the Web Summit at the RDS in Dublin. PA
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, speaking at the Web Summit at the RDS in Dublin. PA

Palmer Luckey, the young billionaire who created Facebook’s virtual reality headset, has been funding a secret meme factory to support Donald Trump.

Mr Luckey’s group aims to help boost Mr Trump’s chances in the US election by using “meme magic” to convince people to vote for him.

The group is known as Nimble America and was revealed in a post last week on Reddit’s “The Donald” forum, which is one of the central organising places for supporters of Mr Trump online. The group made clear at launch that it was looking to use memes to support the Republican’s bid.

“What we’ve been able to accomplish here has been amazing and much bigger than any of us and certainly much bigger than Reddit,” a moderator wrote in introducing Nimble America. “We’ve proven that shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real. So many of you have asked us, how we can bring this to real life.”

In response to the post, a user called only NimbleRichMan stepped forward to ask whether he could help out with donations to it.

“You and I are the same,” the user, now revealed to be Mr Luckey, wrote. “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.

The post has since been deleted, along with the original announcement, but it ended with a rallying cry to use “meme magic” to support Mr Trump.

“Let’s generate some success of our own,” NimbleRichMan wrote. “Make America great again with your meme magic, centipedes of The Donald!”

Many Reddit users initially questioned who could be behind the group and its supportive account. The mystery led to fears that the group was a scam – using the interest in Donald Trump on Reddit to collect money that then wouldn’t be used.

But just as that controversy started, Mr Luckey stepped forward to make clear that he was behind the NimbleRichMan account and that the group was genuine.

It still isn’t clear exactly what Nimble America actually plans to do with the cash, or how it will look to influence the election. But it presumably involves creating memes and shareable images to increase the reach of Mr Trump and his policies.

Mr Luckey has said that he’s just a funder of the group – not involved with its actual but just funding what he thought was a funny idea. He seems more involved with it than that, however, being listed as its vice president on its website.

“It’s something that no campaign is going to run,” Mr Luckey told the Daily Beast about the posters the group plans to run.

“I’ve got plenty of money,” Luckey he said to the website. “Money is not my issue. I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time.”

Mr Luckey made the money that he is using to fund Nimble America by selling his virtual reality company, Oculus, to Facebook.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has obliquely spoken out about Donald Trump, but another investor, Peter Thiel, has publicly lent his support to Mr Trump too.

Independent News Service

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