The American philanthropist and founder of computer company Microsoft Bill Gates (64) has been the target of a whole battery of hoaxes around the new coronavirus in recent months. For example, he is accused of creating Covid-19 to make money from a vaccine and of working on a plan to thin out or monitor humanity. All are ‘fake news’.
It was the American newspaper The New York Times that made the discovery, in collaboration with Zignal Labs, a company that analyses media sources. Between February and April, they counted 1.2 million hoaxes on TV and social media that linked Gates to the coronavirus.
On Facebook this year, there were already 16,000 posts, which were liked and commented on 900,000 times. The ten most popular YouTube videos with ‘fake news’ about Gates and the coronavirus accounted for 5 million views in March and April.
According to The Times news media, the first hoax was dated 21 January. Then a YouTuber linked to the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon on Twitter suggested that Gates had prior knowledge of the pandemic. He referred to a patent for a coronavirus from the Pirbright Institute, which receives money from the Gates Foundation.
However, it was not a patent for Covid-19, but a possible vaccine for a coronavirus in poultry. Two days later, however, the conspiracy website Infowars took over the story and turned it into a patent for “the deadly virus”.
Other hoaxes referred to the fact that Gates knew the fallen financier Jeffrey Epstein and claimed that there was an international elite who had created the coronavirus together or claimed that he wanted to keep an eye on the population with vaccination in the form of a microchip.
Familiar people were also involved. For example, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – son of the murdered senator Bobby Kennedy and activist for the anti-vaccination movement – suggested that Gates was using vaccines to feed his other business interests. And that his vaccines do “terrible damage”.
Laura Ingraham of the conservative news channel, Fox News, was also present. She tweeted a conspiracy theory that accused Gates of evil motives when he said he wanted to keep track of who would get the future vaccine for Covid-19. “Keeping an eye on Americans digitally has been a dream of globalists for years,” it sounded.
Gates – with an estimated fortune of more than $100 billion – is an outspoken critic of U.S. President Donald Trump and the way he’s tackling the coronary pandemic. In 2015, he gave a speech warning that the greatest danger to humanity was not nuclear war, but a contagious virus.
That speech resurfaced in recent weeks and received no less than 25 million extra views. The anti-vaccination movement, the extreme right, and QAnon – typical Trump supporters – saw proof that Gates was using the pandemic to control the health system, adding another hoax.
What is Gates really doing about the coronavirus? During the outbreak of the coronavirus in January, The Gates Foundation donated $ 10 million to the care sector in China and Africa. In February, in a leading medical journal, he warned that the new coronavirus behaved like a pathogen that only appeared once in a century.
He also called for more and fairer testing in March, promising earlier this month that his Foundation would sponsor the producers of the seven most promising vaccines. On Wednesday, he spent $250 million trying to slow the spread of the disease.