Nimble America: Gaming Billionaire Palmer Luckey Funds Donald Trump’s Meme-Filled Answer To Hillary Clinton’s ‘Correct The Record’
Nimble America is bringing the Donald Trump meme machine to a nationwide audience, and billionaire gaming wizard Palmer Luckey is the man behind it.
After a shaky debut in which he was attacked by members of Donald Trump’s Reddit community, Palmer publicly introduced the new Trump-supporting non-profit group, one that he said will dominate the discourse on the internet.
Luckey, the founder of gaming company Oculus who sold his firm to Facebook for $2 billion, has given a huge chunk of money to the group known as Nimble America. The group has been described be some reports as a Super PAC, but is actually a “social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit dedicated to s**tposting in real life.”
Oculus founder funds anti-Clinton ‘dirty meme’ group: Daily Beast https://t.co/s68RPnMmPx
— CNBC Tech (@CNBCtech) September 23, 2016
For those who may not be in the loop, “s**tposting” describes the actions of Trump’s group on Reddit, The_Donald. Rather than pushing political discourse, the group pushes anti-Clinton memes and pictures of Pepe the frog — taken in aggregate, it is known as “s**tposting.”
The group Nimble America looks to do this on a grander scale, The Verge noted.
“In its announcement post on Trump-fan subreddit r/The_Donald, Nimble America said it had already ‘proven that s**tposting is powerful and meme magic is real,’ and that it wanted to bring so-called ‘s**tposting’ into the real world ‘in a way that was transparent and had purpose.’ In practice, the unofficial Trump-supporting group suggested this could be done via T-shirts, Nimble America’s spokesperson saying that it would ‘not just sell t-shirts to sell them, but to sell t-shirts to s**tpost.’ The group’s home page was last updated on July 11th.”
In case that mission sounds vaguely familiar, it is very close to the controversial Clinton-supporting Super PAC called Correct the Record. This group announced earlier in the summer that it was sinking $1 million into shaping the discourse on the internet and correcting some common lines of attack against Clinton.
Though the group never discussed exactly how this would be done, residents of Reddit’s political pages — especially supporters of Bernie Sanders and, more recently, The_Donald — concluded that it meant paying an army of trolls to hammer the opposition.
Palmer Luckey’s Nimble America was almost sunk before it officially started, however. When Luckey first pitched the group to The_Donald seeking support, he was met with skepticism. Many users pegged it as a scam, and also attacked right wing provocateur and The_Donald moderator Milo Yiannopoulos, who vouched for Luckey in his announcement thread.
Nimble America has already had a real-life impact. The group claims to have put up a billboard outside Pittsburgh showing a cartoon-ish picture of Hillary Clinton and the words “Too big to jail.”
There are apparently bigger plans for Nimble America as well, the group noted on Reddit.
“Our first Billboard outside Pittsburg (sic) only cost 75$ for a 7 day run every 4 minutes, imagine what we can do with a 24/7 BB up in every major battleground city,” a representative for the group wrote.
But the debut of Nimble America has also raised some ethical questions about the group’s role and Palmer Luckey’s employment with Facebook. Some have questioned the concerns that could come from a group promising to shape political discourse online with a founder who works for the world’s biggest social media company.
Others have questioned whether another big tech name could be quietly supporting Nimble America. As Quartz noted, Trump already has the support of one of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.
“Luckey isn’t the only Silicon Valley titan to pledge support for Donald Trump. Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal and venture capital investor, signed up as a delegate for Trump in California, and later spoke at the Republican National Convention. Thiel is also an investor in Oculus.”
Whatever concerns there might be, Palmer Luckey has given the internet an answer to Hillary Clinton’s Correct the Record — Nimble America and its “s**tposts.”
[Featured Image by Eric Risberg/AP Images]