Meta, Facebook’s recently rebranded parent company, announced on Monday that conservative megadonor Peter Thiel will be retiring from Meta’s board of directors.
Thiel, a longtime investor in Facebook and confidante of Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg going back to 2005, will not run for reelection at Meta’s annual stockholder meeting this year, according to the company.
“It has been a privilege to work with one of the great entrepreneurs of our time,” Thiel said of Zuckerberg in the announcement.
Zuckerberg praised Thiel as a “valuable member of our board” and “an original thinker who you can bring your hardest problems and get unique suggestions.”
The pro-Trump billionaire is leaving Meta to focus on the upcoming 2022 midterms, a source told the New York Times. He’s already thrown his support behind more than a dozen Republican Senate and House candidates, including three hopefuls aiming to unseat GOP House lawmakers who impeached then-President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
As the board’s most outspoken conservative, Thiel and his involvement in Facebook’s operations have been scrutinized by critics of the social media giant’s disastrous handling of hate speech and misinformation. Besides helping fuel right-wing claims of being unfairly victimized by Facebook’s content moderation practices, Thiel served as a conduit between Zuckerberg and Trump, who met with the two executives in 2019.
The New York Times noted that Thiel had declared last year that he would “take QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy theories any day over a Ministry of Truth.”