Back to Africa Check

No, Elon Musk’s Twitter Files don’t mention – or ‘expose’ – Bill Gates

IN SHORT: Social media posts claim Elon Musk’s Twitter Files “exposed” Bill Gates “so hard” that the Microsoft co-founder turned off comments on his tweets. But the Twitter Files, released in December 2022, don’t discuss Gates. And Gates turned off comments in July 2020.

Disclaimer: Funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made up 26% of Africa Check’s income in 2021.

“Elon Musk EXPOSED Bill Gates in the latest twitter files so hard that he has now turned off comments on his Twitter,” reads a claim circulating on social media in South Africa and elsewhere in January 2023.

Billionaire Elon Musk co-founded PayPal and established SpaceX. He’s also the chief executive of Tesla. In October 2022, Musk bought Twitter for US$44 billion.

Billionaire Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

On 2 December 2022 Musk and a group of writers began releasing what's called the Twitter Files, internal documents from the company before Musk took over. The information has been posted in a series of Twitter threads.

The original claim that Gates was somehow “exposed” in the Twitter Files was posted on Twitter on 16 January 2023 by the account Anti WEF. The account promotes various conspiracy theories about the World Economic Forum.



But do the Twitter Files really expose Gates? And did he turn off his Twitter comments as a result?


Gates not the subject of any of the Twitter Files’ eight batches  

The claim doesn’t say what the Twitter Files exposed about Gates. This vagueness and complete lack of detail in an accusation is often a sign of false information.

The Twitter Files have so far been released in eight batches. These are the subjects of each batch:

  1. Twitter’s moderation process after a New York Post article on Hunter Biden’s laptop
  2. The practice of “shadow banning” certain Twitter users
  3. Former US president Donald Trump’s suspension from Twitter
  4. Twitter’s reaction to the 6 January 2021 attack on the US capitol
  5. Twitter employees’ influence on the decision to ban Trump
  6. Twitter’s interaction with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about election disinformation
  7. Twitter's interaction with the US intelligence community about Hunter Biden’s laptop
  8. The Twitter site integrity team’s whitelisting of accounts from US Central Command, which runs influence campaigns elsewhere in the world

None of the eight batches mentions Bill Gates.

Gates did turn off comments on his tweets – back in July 2020. Only people Gates follows or mentions in his tweets can reply. No reason for this block has been given.

The Twitter Files didn’t “expose” Gates. And the files were first released in December 2022. Gates “turned off comments on his Twitter” more than two years before, in July 2020.

The claim has also been debunked by Reuters and Check Your Fact.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.