Bill Gates says he has been taken aback by the volume of ‘crazy’ and ‘evil’ conspiracy theories that have been spreading about him on social media since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist said he has been the subject of millions of online posts and ‘crazy conspiracy theories’, and insists he would like to get to the bottom of what’s behind them.
The wild theories involving Gates, whose foundation has donated over a billion to coronavirus vaccine and treatment research, include unfounded claims he developed COVID-19 in a lab and wants to use the vaccine to implant microchip tracking devices into billions of people.
Another leading public figure in the fight against the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has also become a target of several conspiracies, including claims he created the virus and is now blocking natural cures for it.
‘Nobody would have predicted that I and Dr. Fauci would be so prominent in these really evil theories,’ Gates told Reuters Wednesday.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
‘I’m very surprised by that. I hope it goes away.’
Bill Gates says he has been taken aback by the volume of ‘crazy’ and ‘evil’ conspiracy theories that have been spreading about him on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic
Health professionals say vaccine misinformation could have lethal consequences if it leads people to opt for bogus cures instead
Gates, a billionaire who stepped down as chairman of Microsoft Corp in 2014, has through his philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed at least $1.75 billion to the global response to the COVID-19.
Since the pandemic began a year ago, millions of conspiracies have spread over the Internet, fueling misinformation about the coronavirus, its origins and the motives of those working to fight it.
In the first few months of the pandemic alone, between February and April last year, conspiracy theories and misinformation linking Gates to the origins of COVID-19 were mentioned more than 1.2 million times on television and social media.
Then, in May 2020, a Yahoo News/You Gov poll found that 28 percent of US adults believed that Gates was plotting to use a potential vaccine to implant microchips into billions of people to track their movements.
Meanwhile, other conspiracies gathered momentum that included claims Gates was seeking to cull 15 percent of the population with the vaccine, and he was also falsely quoted as saying the vaccine would ‘no doubt’ kill 700,000 people.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
At Trump rallies, anti-lockdown protests, and Q-Anon drives, countless participants have been observed holding signs supporting the Gates conspiracies, that often include the tagline '#SayNoToBillGates'.
The genesis of the distorted theories is believed to date back to a 2015 video, when, during a TED Talk in Vancouver, Gates issued a dire warning that, ‘if anything kills over 10 million people over the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war.’
Conspiracy theorists claim the premonition is proof that Gates had prior knowledge about the coronavirus.
During his Wednesday interview with Reuters, Gates asked: ‘But do people really believe that stuff?
‘We’re really going to have to get educated about this over the next year and understand ... how does it change peoples’ behavior and how should we have minimized this?’
In the first few months of the pandemic alone, between February and April last year, conspiracy theories and misinformation linking Gates to the origins of COVID-19 were mentioned more than 1.2 million times
During his Wednesday interview with Reuters, Gates asked: ‘But do people really believe that stuff?'
The main conspiracy theory involving Gates is that he intends to use the COVID-19 vaccine to implant a microchip into the arms of billions of people to track their movements.
A theory that Gates wanted to cull 15 percent of the population through the vaccine has also been peddled, as have false claims that he developed the deadly virus in a lab.
Other baseless theories include:The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has