“I think at some point he probably will be allowed back on and probably should be allowed back on,” the billionaire philanthropist told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview aired Thursday morning.
Major social media platforms either temporarily suspended or permanently banned the former president after a mob violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the day Congress was set to certify the states’ electoral votes and thus President Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory. Trump had used his social media accounts to spread claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him through widespread fraud, claims which the rioters echoed as they stormed the Capitol.
Trump’s “deplatforming” sparked intense outcry from conservatives in particular, arguing that large technology giants were exercising anti-conservative bias and violating the principle of free speech in the process. Even world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed displeasure with the move.
Gates had been asked by “Squawk Box” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin about if he would allow the former commander-in-chief back on social media if he were on Facebook’s oversight board.
“It’s weird when you’re, you know, saying that the election was stolen without any facts there. And how corrosive that is,” Gates said.
“But I’ll bet they’ll find a way to let him back on,” he continued, noting that Trump’s future posts could be given warning labels—as they had been in the months leading up to, and after, the November 3 general election.
“You know, in a way, his people’s interest in what he says may go down quite a bit,” Gates added. “That’ll be interesting to watch.”
Prior to being banned from Twitter, Trump had enjoyed the benefits given to him under the website’s world leader policy, which exempts world leaders from punishments for behavior on the platform violating its policies.
Despite Trump leaving a possible 2024 presidential run on the table, and with that the possibility of becoming a world leader again, Twitter’s chief financial officer has said Trump’s account will remained banned permanently.
On February 10, CFO Ned Segal said in a CNBC interview that the former president “was removed when he was president, and there’d be no difference for anybody who [was] a public official once they’ve been removed from the service.”
“Our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence,” Segal also said, “and if anybody does that, we would have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.”
At the time of his ban from the platform, Twitter said that Trump’s tweets posed “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Moreover, Democrats—and a number of Republicans—have accused Trump of “inciting an insurrection” in part through his claims spread on social media leading up to the riot. Ultimately on Saturday, Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate after being impeached by the House of Representatives for that single charge.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.