Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Thursday pushed back against some of the conspiracy theories spreading online accusing him of creating the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s a bad combination of pandemic and social media and people looking for a very simple explanation,” the Microsoft founder said during a CNN Town Hall interview.
Bill Gates: allegedly the brains behind virus outbreak
Doctored photos and fabricated news articles crafted by conspiracy theorists — shared thousands of times on social media platforms and messaging apps, in various languages — targeting Gates have gained traction online since the start of the pandemic.
A video accusing Gates of wanting “to eliminate 15 percent of the population” through vaccination and electronic microchips has racked up millions of views on YouTube.
Q-nuts believe in "deep state" comprising of windmill cancer, Hillary "killing children in a pizza parlor" (but of course she does!) and the Coronavirus was 'made by Soros and Bill Gates'. pic.twitter.com/3H6jJnmaBt
— Salv Antipopulista 🇪🇺🇬🇧🏳️🌈 (@argentedelcasti) July 21, 2020
“Our foundation has given more money to buy vaccines to save lives than any group,” Gates said, referring to his eponymous foundation.
He has pledged $250 million in efforts to fight the pandemic, and his foundation has spent billions of dollars improving health care in developing countries over the past 20 years.
“So you just turn that around. You say, ok, we’re making money and we’re trying to kill people with vaccines or by inventing something,” Gates continued.
“And at least it’s true, we’re associated with vaccines, but you actually have sort of flipped the connection,” he said, adding he hopes the conspiracies don’t generate “vaccine hesitancy.”
Conspiracies against Gates: numerous enough to deserve debunking
Since the start of the crisis, media outlets have debunked dozens of anti-Gates rumors circulating on platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram in languages including English, French, Spanish, Polish and Czech.
A number of accusations, including posts claiming that the FBI arrested Gates for biological terrorism or that he supports a Western plot to poison Africans, share a common thread.
They accuse the tycoon of exploiting the crisis, whether it is to “control people” or make money from selling vaccines.
“I’m a big believer in getting the truth out,” Gates told CNN.
Bill Gates hopeful about future coronavirus cure
In the interview, Gates also spoke about. He said he expects some to be approved in the next two to four months.
However, those at-home tests won’t be as accurate as thebeing done in laboratories, which are molecular. In the next few months, we need to increase our testing capacity and get people’s results back within 24 hours as at-home tests roll out, he said. “The we have today are completely unacceptable,” Gates said. “It’s making most of our tests pretty much worthless.”
Vaccine testing is underway, but it’s likely we’ll have better therapeutic interventions before we have a vaccine available, Gates said.
“We have a lot of regrets, but we do have innovations in the pipeline that should reduce the death rate, and eventually, by the end of next year, get us out of this terrible situation,” Gates said. “In 2021, there’s a good chance this can get done.”
Microsoft founder has a history of being targeted by conspiracy theorists
According to this false conspiracy theory, Gates is planning to use a future COVID-19 vaccine to implant microchips in billions of people in order to monitor their movements. And despite a total lack of evidence, it’s gained believers, particularly among Fox News viewers and Republicans, a May survey found.
Dr Fauci is a FRAUD and a FOOL. He admitted that he is not qualified to give advice about coronavirus, yet he has been for the last 6 months. And all of you fools have been listening to his every word. NOTHING will stop the spread of this man made virus. Blame Bill Gates.
— Richard Clark (@RichardCkark) July 22, 2020
Gates said he doesn’t know how the conspiracy theory started, but that he and Dr. Anthony Fauci are two of the most mentioned people in terms of coronavirus vaccine research.
It is not the first time Gates has found himself targeted by conspiracy theorists. When Zika virus broke out in 2015 in Brazil, he was one of several powerful Western figures blamed for the disease.
Other rumors claim he is secretly a lizard, an old favorite among online trolls.
GVS News Desk with additional input by other sources