Bill Gates Can't Keep Up With Facebook

The billionaire put $240 million into the social network, but doesn't know how to use it

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bill Gates isn't into being your Facebook friend.

    Sorry, Microsoft lovers - Bill Gates isn't interested in being your Facebook friend.

    Despite Microsoft investing $240 million in the company in 2007, the tech-savvy billionaire has been trotting out a social-networking sob story for years about how Facebook is too difficult for him to use.

    He claims he had to quit the social networking Web site Facebook because he was inundated with too many friend requests - many from strangers he didn't know, Agence France-Presse reported. Gates told a New Delhi audience that he joined Facebook to try out the Web phenomenon but ended up with "10,000 people wanting to be my friends," according to the AFP. He had trouble deciding who he knew and who he didn't -- so he kicked the Facebook habit and deleted his page.

    "It was just too much trouble, so I gave it up," he said as he accepted the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in the Indian city.

    The only problem? This is the same excuse he's been giving for more than a year. And in fact, he hasn't deleted his page -- he's just left it dormant, without updates. (It's easy to deactivate or delete one's Facebook page by sending a request to customer service, but Gates apparently hasn't bothered.)

    Gates also said he isn't into text-messaging and hasn't embraced the 24/7 tech trend.

    "I'm not a 24-hour-a-day tech person," he said. "I read a lot and some of that reading is not on a computer."

    If Gates read more on a computer, he'd know that Facebook has long made it possible for sought-after celebrities like himself to set up "fan" pages, where people can sign themselves up as Gates groupies without the tech mogul having to personally acknowledge their requests.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a public fan page -- perhaps Gates is too abashed to ask the twentysomething chief for personal tutoring on how to use Facebook?

    Maybe we should give Gates a break: The Microsoft chairman and founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped raise nearly $1 billion to help develop projects in India and across the globe, particularly targeting AIDS research. Those are definitely worthier causes than spending time on Facebook. But Gates's complaint would be more believable if he'd kept up to date on Facebook's latest features.