Bill Gates Knocks Elon Musk’s ‘Seat-of-the-Pants’ Control of Twitter

Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates smiles during the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum in London on October 19, 2021. (Photo by Leon Neal / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LEON NEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates knocked fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s “seat-of-the-pants” control of Twitter this week, feeling it will increase digital polarization.

Gates made his comments during an interview with the Financial Times outlining human judgment may not be enough to tackle digital polarization and misinformation.

“I wish I had the grand answer for this one, because it seems more unclear now than even a year ago,” he said. “I think, certainly, the Twitter situation is stirring things up. That, instead of an objective set of measures done by a broad group of people, you’re sort of seeing seat-of-the-pants type activity.”

Gates further added Twitter needs to “focus on the things that incite riots or lead to huge misconceptions about the safety of vaccines or masks, or those types of things.”

This task of dissecting the misinformation would be “daunting,” according to Gates, for “even a fair-minded person with the world’s best technology and infinite staffing budget.” He said that such people need to distinguish between vaccine skeptics and conspiracy theorists who say “the people who make these vaccines are just trying to get rich, even [if] they cause net negative health effects.”

“The degree to which global health is off the agenda is a big concern to me,” he said.

In an annual letter released on Tuesday, Gates said political polarization, fueled by digital communication, has reversed what he characterized as “progress on global health challenges from polio to malaria, alongside the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, inflation and climate change,” as reported by the FT.

Gates also said that more funding could be used for foreign aid while calling for better preparation on the next pandemic. “After World War II, what the world did was actually pretty impressive. So far, the response has been more like what happened after World War I, which was not that impressive. I hope this isn’t saying that . . . you need two pandemics before you take it seriously,” he said.

After releasing the “Twitter files,” which detailed the social media giant’s intense censorship practices that targeted conservatives under the previous ownership, Musk raised a few eyebrows over the weekend when he issued a suspension against an account tracking his private jet and journalists that shared the information.

In response to the backlash, Musk launched a poll about stepping down as the head of Twitter – 57.5 percent of those polled voted Yes.


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