For a little over a week, social media has been abuzz about Elon Musk’s plans to take Twitter from a publicly traded platform to a privately owned venture in a $44 billion deal.
But what does one of Musk’s fellow billionaires think about the pending sale?
During a Tuesday morning visit to TODAY, philanthropist, investor and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates opened up to Savannah Guthrie about what the deal could mean in an age of social media misinformation.
“The digital realm has facilitated kind of interesting but wrong ideas spreading very quickly,” he said of the status quo. “We need to innovate so that digital realm is more of a positive thing of getting the truth out, and that people are seeing, ‘Hey, this is false.’”
So would Twitter with Musk at the helm be a way to achieve that goal?
How Elon Musk aims to ‘restore free speech’ via Twitter purchaseMay 1, 202204:09
“You wouldn’t want to underestimate Elon,” the 66-year-old noted. “What he did at Tesla is amazing, helping with climate change, what he did at SpaceX — will he, this time, make that (kind of) improvement? Should there be laws that strike a better balance of free speech versus conspiracy theories confusing people? You know, Elon thinks he can improve Twitter.”
With a smile, Gates added, “I don’t know specifically what he’ll do, but there’s an opportunity, and we need innovation in that space.”
As for what Musk plans to deliver, he shared that with reporters while on the red carpet at Monday night’s Met Gala.
“The goal that I have, should everything come to fruition with Twitter, is to have a service that is as broadly inclusive as possible, where ideally most of America is on it and talking,” Musk explained.
“I’ve also vowed this publicly, that we have to get rid of the bots and trolls and the scams and everything, because that’s obviously diminishing the user experience and we don’t want people getting tricked out of their money and that kind of thing,” he added.
People getting tricked out of the truth is something that hits home for Gates, especially as someone who’s served as an advocate for COVID-19 vaccines and treatment development.
In fact, when asked about President Joe Biden’s comments that misinformation on social media is “killing people,” Gates told Savannah, “Absolutely. It’s been weird that vaccines have been attacked as being overall negative or there’s some conspiracy here. It’s terrible.”
Of course, it's not just vaccines that have been attacked.
The tech magnate himself has also been the focus of some persistent and negative conspiracy theories.
"That is a very weird thing, that just because I support vaccines to save millions of lives, people are saying, no, I make money from vaccines or that I’m trying to cause death or track (people) or a lot of strange stuff," he said. "Hard to understand why that is."