- Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates said Trump should probably be allowed back on Facebook.
- Gates told CNBC he expects Trump’s accounts will be reinstated, possibly with warnings on his posts.
- Facebook’s oversight board is currently deciding whether to allow Trump back on the platform.
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Facebook should eventually lift its ban on former President Donald Trump, according to Bill Gates.
The Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist was asked about Trump’s social media ban during an interview Thursday with Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Sorkin asked whether Gates would reinstate Trump if he was on Facebook’s oversight board, which monitors speech on the platform.
“I think at some point he probably will be allowed back on and probably should be allowed back on,” Gates said, according to CNBC.
Facebook banned Trump’s account “indefinitely” in January following the insurrection at the US Capitol, citing risks to Trump continuing to use its site. Facebook initially said it would ban Trump until the end of his presidency last month, but his account has not yet been reinstated.
The company has handed off the decision of whether to allow Trump back on Facebook and Instagram to its Oversight Board, which has up to 90 days from January 21 to make its decision.
Twitter enacted its own permanent ban hours later “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company said at the time. Twitter has since it will never reinstate Trump on the platform, even if he runs for office again.
Gates said that Trump’s assertions that the election was stolen, without evidence, are “corrosive,” but that he’s betting Facebook will “find a way to let him back on” and add warning labels to his posts.
“You know in a way … people’s interest in what he says may go down quite a bit,” Gates said, according to CNBC. “That will be interesting to watch.”
Gates has been openly critical of Trump in the past, particularly his administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. In an interview with CBS News last summer, Gates said that “serious mistakes were made” in how the virus was handled, pointing to the politicization of the virus as a main issue.
“We somehow got masks as this politicized thing … and some like, harbinger of freedom, that just covering your mouth was awful,” Gates said at the time.
Gates had also criticised Trump’s travel ban last year, which he believes likely accelerated the spread of the virus.
The Wall Street Journal reported last May that Gates warned Trump of a possible pandemic before he took office in December 2016, urging his administration to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak.