US financier George Soros pledged $1 billion for a new university network project to battle the erosion of civil society in a world he said was ruled by “dictators”.

“We live at a transformational moment in history. The survival of open societies is endangered and we face an even greater crisis: climate change”, Soros said in the speech he gave at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He explained that his plan of the Open Society University Network would be an international platform for teaching and research that universities all over the world would be able to join.

Soros also warned that the world’s strongest powers, the US, China and Russia were “in the hands of would-be or actual dictators and the ranks of authoritarian rulers continued to grow”.

He then claimed that the social media giant Facebook would work to help reelect US president Donald Trump, who he called “a con man and a narcissist, who wants the world to revolve around him.”

“I think there is a kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook,” Soros said, and added: “Facebook will work together to re-elect Trump, and Trump will work to protect Facebook so that this situation cannot be changed and it makes me very concerned about the outcome for 2020”.

He did not present any evidence for his claim. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone later tweeted that Soros’s claim “is just plain wrong.”