Never Underestimate Elon Musk, but He Could Make Twitter ‘Worse’

  • Bill Gates questioned Elon Musk’s goals for Twitter, as well as what free speech would look like.
  • Gates said Musk has a “mind blowing” track record with Tesla and SpaceX.
  • The Microsoft founder spoke at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London.

Bill Gates said he’s unsure what Twitter’s future will look like under Elon Musk’s guidance.

“He actually could make it worse,” Gates said at an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “That’s not his track record. I mean his track record with Tesla and SpaceX is pretty mind blowing at putting together a great team of engineers and taking the people who work in those fields in a less bold way and really showing them up. I kind of doubt that will happen this time, but we should have an open mind and never underestimate Elon.”

Last week, Twitter accepted Musk’s roughly $44 billion buyout offer. The deal is expected to close within the year, pending approval from shareholders and regulators.

“If all you need is money and hiring great engineers, he’s probably as good a person as any,” Gates said.

Though the Microsoft founder expressed concern over how Musk may address misinformation on the social media platform, especially considering his emphasis on promoting “free speech.” Last week, Musk said that he defines free speech as “that which matches the law.”

“How does he feel about something that says vaccines can kill people or that Bill Gates is tracking people?” Gates said. “Is that one of the things he thinks should be spread?”

Experts previously told Insider that Musk’s approach to free speech could lead to the further spread of misinformation and hate speech on Twitter.

In April, Musk appeared to mock Gates with a meme of the Microsoft founder alongside a pregnant man emoji. The meme was posted in response to a series of screenshots of texts that appeared to be between the two billionaires. In the messages, Musk confirmed that Gates was shorting Tesla’s stock and rejected an offer from Gates to work on a philanthropic opportunity. Musk later said on Twitter that the screenshots were real.

Gates commented on the exchange during his interview with The Journal and said he was unbothered by Musk’s apparent jab on Twitter.

“I do not think that shorting Tesla is an indication of your seriousness about climate change,” Gates said. “I applaud Tesla’s role in battling climate change. I have nothing but positive things to say about Elon. If he makes Twitter worse, I will speak out about that.”

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