Former world’s richest person Bill Gates cast criticism on current richest person Elon Musk’s plan to purchase Twitter and suggested that his ownership of the platform would allow for more so-called misinformation to proliferate.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Gates claimed that Musk “actually could make it worse,” referring to misinformation. “That’s not his track record.”
Gates did not elaborate on why Musk would allow misinformation to spread. The billionaire said that he has often become the target of what he believes is misinformation.
But later in the event, Gates said that he has “nothing but positive things to say about Elon. If he makes Twitter worse, fine, I’ll speak out about that, but I wouldn’t assume that’s what’s going to happen.”
Recently, Musk and Gates were embroiled in a high-profile spat as Musk in late April said he confronted Gates over the Microsoft co-founder’s supposed holding of roughly $500 million in Tesla short stocks. In a screenshot text message, Gates confirmed to Musk that he was short-selling shares of Tesla and was betting on the Musk-operated electric vehicle company’s stock prices dropping.
“Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out,” Gates appeared to reply and said that he wanted to “discuss philanthropy possibilities” regarding the climate, according to the screenshot. However, Musk, who is estimated to be worth more than $270 billion, rebuffed him and cited Gates’ short-selling of Tesla’s shares.
“Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change,” Musk said, according to the text message.
When asked about the exchange on Wednesday, Gates, who was labeled by Forbes magazine as the richest person in the world between 1995 and 2017, did not directly address the incident.
“I don’t think whether one’s short or long Tesla is a statement about your seriousness about climate change,” Gates said, reported the Wall Street Journal. “I applaud Tesla’s role in helping with climate change.”
Last week, Musk and Twitter’s board of directors announced they came to an agreement to allow Musk to purchase the social media platform for $44 billion. It’s not clear when the deal will be finalized, and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal is still in charge of the company’s operations.
Before his offer to purchase the company, Musk has often criticized Twitter’s policies and recently questioned the firm’s decision in late 2020 to block the spread of a New York Post article detailing Hunter Biden’s overseas business deals.