So who is Facebook's Peter Thiel? He is an FB board member, a funder of Cambridge Analytica and a Trump supporter. He is expanding his influence at a critical time when Facebook's senior members are undecided on how political advertisements should be governed on the platform, according to Mashable.
Thiel was also Facebook's first investor and founder of Palantir. He is reportedly contributing heavily to internal tensions at Facebook, in line with what the company said back in September. Mainly that they would not be subjecting politicians to the same guidelines as the company's community must adhere to.
Within Facebook, this decision is just as controversial as it is outside of the social media giant. In October, hundreds of Facebook employees wrote an open letter to management urging them to change the policy on political ads saying: "We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."
There have been multiple reports since then that Facebook is considering limiting politicians' ability to micro-target the ads, which lets ad-buyers reach small, very specific demographics. Critics of this micro-ad policy, like Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub, say that, because most people will never see the micro-targeted ads, politicians are essentially able to spread whatever misinformation they want with few consequences.
For Facebook, their leaders not being able to agree on where to draw the line on political ads, is a real problem. Thiel's influence doesn't seem to be helping matters. A Facebook spokesperson in a statement said: "Many of the decisions we’re making at Facebook come with difficult trade-offs and we’re approaching them with careful rigor at all levels of the company, from the Board of Directors down. We’re fortunate to have a Board with diverse experiences and perspectives so we can ensure debate that reflects a cross section of views."
The White Tower
Zuckerberg also had to defend Thiel in 2016 when he came out as a Trump supporter, with employees questioning the company's association with him. Since that time, Thiel has been part of Trump's transition team as well as having attended Zuckerberg's White House dinner. However, anyone who knows Lord of the Rings will tell you, palantirs are dangerous to play with.