On Sunday, a partner at Silicon Valley investment firm Founders Fund spoke out against Donald Trump, blaming social media and by extension venture capitalists like himself for the “digital echo chamber” that led to the President-elect’s surprise victory on Tuesday.
— Geoff Lewis (@justGLew) November 13, 2016
“For every Clinton voter who couldn’t name a single Facebook friend supporting Trump, there was a Trump voter who couldn’t name a single Facebook friend supporting Clinton,” writes Geoff Lewis in a blog post on Medium. “I’m a part of the problem. Where I work, in the Silicon Valley venture capital industry, the most appealing businesses to invest in remain these social media centric companies, for they are so engaging, so addictive, that they require less outside capital to grow than almost any other type of business in the world.”
In the post, Lewis drastically parts ways politically with boss (and early Facebook investor) Peter Thiel. Perhaps Trump’s most vocal supporter in the tech industry, Thiel reportedly giving $US1.25 ($2) million to help elect the candidate and is now a member of the President-elect’s transition team.
“If we take Trump seriously, it may not be safe for me to write a post like this a year from now,” Lewis continues. “If we take Trump’s ‘Director of African American Outreach’ and former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault literally, it isn’t safe for me to write it now. If some of the most frightening rumours circulating already are true, than I will face retaliation just for writing these words today. I hope and pray those rumours are false. Time will tell.”
According to Lewis, Americans must respond to Trump’s election by tuning out the “Reality TV 2.0” of social media and truly listening to one another. In service of this, Lewis has launched the hashtag “#TurnOnReality” and an associated website.
“We must make the time and space to tend to one another, leaving the comfort of our known audiences so as to bring comfort to those who are different — and probably even voted differently,” concludes Lewis. “We must do this right away in order to soberly assess and rapidly react to the radical change that President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised is in store for the United States of America.”