Elon Musk stated in a series of tweets on Friday (May 27) that Bill Gates had a short position on Tesla Inc that needs between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion to finish out. Musk claimed the stake was US$500 million and rose after Tesla “went up a lot”. When asked last year on CNBC if he was shorting Tesla, Gates answered, “I don’t speak about my investments.” Musk was answering messages following the closing of his Twitter poll questioning which respondents trust less – politicians or billionaires. More than 75 percent indicated they had less faith in politics.
Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, cautioned on Wednesday that Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, may turn Twitter into a “worse” platform. Mr. Gates was questioned about Elon Musk’s possible influence on Twitter after his $44 billion purchase of the social media network last month at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. The philanthropist responded by noting that although Mr Musk has a strong track record, he might exacerbate the platform’s disinformation.
“He has the potential to make things worse,” Mr. Gates remarked. “It’s not really apparent what he’s going to do,” he continued. Mr. Gates also acknowledged that Mr. Musk’s track record at other firms is outstanding, describing his tenure as CEO of Tesla and SpaceX as “mind-blowing.” He said that he thought Mr. Musk had done a wonderful job assembling a superb team of engineers at those firms. “I sort of doubt that will happen this time,” he said, adding, “but we should have an open mind and never underestimate Elon.”
Mr. Gates questioned Mr. Musk’s objectives with the microblogging service in the same interview. Elon Musk, for example, has previously said that his acquisition of Twitter was motivated mostly by a desire to re-establish the service as a free exchange of ideas. He has emphasized that he wants to move away from “censorship” and support free expression on several occasions. Even Twitter’s moderation procedures have been criticized by Mr. Musk.
Mr. Gates questioned whether Mr. Musk’s efforts to encourage free expression are reasonable. He highlighted that during the COVID-19 outbreak, he was often the target of disinformation and that not all misinformation is spread through social media. Mr. Musk should not be allowed to say anything he wants, according to the Microsoft co-founder.
Mr. Gates asked the SpaceX and Tesla CEO to reconsider his plans for Twitter to concentrate on freedom of expression. He feels that individuals who control social media platforms have a duty to play in ensuring that the truth is successfully conveyed.