NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06: Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation speaks onstage at 2019 New York Times Dealbook on November 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)
Bill Gates is the new favorite target for coronavirus conspiracy theorists
New York Times and Zingal labs, a company that analyzes media sources have compiled data and as a result, Bill gates is the favorite target for coronavirus misinformation. Various theories including Bill gates with the virus were mentioned 1.2 million times on TV and social media from February to April, 33 percent more often than the 2nd most popular conspiracy theory linking 5G with COVID-19, according to Zignal Labs, peaking at 18,000 mentions a day in April.
The 10 most popular videos spreading misinformation about Gates and the virus were viewed 5 million times in March and April. Hoaxes directed at the Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, are all over YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The New York Times found 16,000 posts on Facebook this year that were liked and commented on nearly 900,000 times. These hoaxes vary but mostly these are about How Gates is going to profit from the vaccine of COVID-19 or of Gates being a member of a plot to cull humanity and/or implement a global surveillance system
Bill Gates gave a speech on TEDx in 2015 where he mentioned that the next big threat to humanity will not be a nuclear war but infectious disease. And obviously this video is getting a lot of attention nowadays and has reached over 25 million views on YouTube. According to the New York Times, anti-vaxxers, right-wing pundits, and members of the conspiracy group QAnon claim the video is evidence of Gates’ dastardly plan to use a pandemic for his personal gain.
Gates has long been an outspoken critic of President Trump. On Wednesday, he said Trump’s decision to defund WHO was “as dangerous as it sounds,” although he didn’t call out the president by name. Gates also criticized the administration in a recent op-ed, saying –
There’s no question the United States missed the opportunity to get ahead of the novel coronavirus.
Although Gates refused to comment on his new-found notoriety, Mark Suzman, chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told the NYT that it was
distressing that there are people spreading misinformation when we should all be looking for ways to collaborate and save lives.