Bill Gates has said an Elon Musk-owned Twitter “could be worse” and that meeting the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a mistake.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Microsoft co-founder also said he maintains “a sense of humour” about the conspiracy theories that have led to people shouting at him on the street.
Mr Gates, whose massive donations to Covid-19 research have made him a target of bizarre claims, said: “In some ways, you almost have to laugh because it’s so crazy.
“I mean, do I really want to track people? I spend billions on vaccines, I don’t make money on vaccines; vaccines save lives, they don’t cause deaths.
“So I’ve been out in public and some people yell at me that I’m tracking them, and that’s an awful thing.”
Asked about whether such unfounded theories could flourish on Twitter after Mr Musk’s planned purchase of the social media platform, Mr Gates said: “I guess it’s possible Twitter could be worse, but it also could be better.”
The tech pioneer said there is no need for his fellow billionaire, who has tweeted insults about him, “to be nice to me”.
Mr Gates has been succeeded by Mr Musk as the world’s richest person.
In response to Mr Musk’s claims that he has bet against Tesla stock, Mr Gates said it had “nothing to do with climate change”.
“The popularity of electric cars will lead to more competition for selling those cars, so there’s a difference between electric cars being adopted, and companies becoming infinitely valuable,” he said.
Mr Gates also said his divorce from Melinda French Gates would not affect the running of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charitable foundation.
The pair announced they were ending their 27-year marriage last year.
Ms French Gates has previously said she knew the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein was “evil” and questioned why her ex-husband had meetings with him.
My new book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic, is available now. Proceeds will be donated to Partners in Health in memory of Dr. Paul Farmer, who inspired the world with his commitment to saving lives: https://t.co/T5Nk5TVRJ2 pic.twitter.com/4lhapJiMbw
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2022
Mr Gates said: “I made a mistake ever meeting with Jeffrey Epstein, you know, maybe her instincts on that were keener than mine.
“Any meeting I had with him could be viewed as almost condoning his evil behaviour, so that was a mistake.”
Mr Gates also said he would not follow fellow billionaires Mr Musk, Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson into space and urged others to donate their wealth to charity.
“That’s not my dream. My dream is first to get polio eradicated and then dive right back in and go after malaria,” he said.
“I’m going to encourage others who have been wildly successful like I’ve been to give back the right causes, I think philanthropy can achieve a lot.”
Mr Gates, whose new book, How to Prevent The Next Pandemic, has just been published, said the world will be “digging our way out” of the pandemic “for decades to come”.
The philanthropist also warned: “It’s very unlikely that we’ll go 20 more years without another outbreak that has a chance of becoming a global pandemic.”