Bill Gates says Elon Musk could make Twitter worse

Bill Gates attends the session of the World Leaders Summit “Accelerating Innovation and Deployment of Clean Technologies” on the third day of COP26 on November 2, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Bill Gates warned that Elon Musk could do Twitter “worse” after the Tesla The CEO has pledged to buy the social media company for $ 44 billion.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal CEO’s summit on Wednesday, Gates said it’s unclear how Musk will change Twitter if he will take responsibility, also raising concerns about the spread of disinformation on social media platforms.

the Microsoft The co-founder admitted that Musk’s track record in other companies is impressive, hailing his time at the helm of Tesla and SpaceX as “mind blowing.” Gates said he believed Musk did a good job of putting together a great team of engineers in those companies.

“I doubt it will happen this time, but we should have an open mind and never underestimate Elon,” he said.

The tech billionaire’s comments come later Musk accused him of shorting Tesla Stock last month. Musk also tweeted a crude joke about Gates that CNBC decided not to print. Gates said insults don’t bother him.

Gates, who has been replaced by Musk as the richest person in the world in recent years, has continued to wonder what Musk’s goal with Twitter is and whether his drive to promote free speech is a delicate one.

“How he feels about something [on Twitter] that says “vaccines kill people” or that “Bill Gates is tracking people?” “asked Gates.

“What are his goals for what he ends up being? Corresponds to this idea of ​​less extreme falsehoods that spread so quickly [and] strange conspiracy theories? Do you share that goal or not? ”Gates said.

A Musk rep did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Over the past few weeks, Musk has hinted at several ways he could try to improve Twitter as well as promote free speech. On Tuesday, for example, he suggested it it might start loading companies receive a “slight” fee for using the platform.

Fighting disinformation

Vaccine misinformation spread like wildfire on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic, with some mistakenly claiming that Gates was somehow using vaccines to implant 5G chips in people so they could track theirs. position.

“It’s so unexpected and almost so bizarre,” Gates said. “Now that I’m back in the physical world … people come up and yell and protest.”

He said it is “dangerous” when people “kick out” the key tool that is being used to save people’s lives and believes that those who own social media platforms have a role to play when it comes to ensuring the truth comes. shared effectively.

Musk’s plan to buy Twitter has worried politicians around the world.

Joe Skipper | Reuters