Bill Gates, once the world’s richest man, has found himself in the spotlight again, although for the wrong reasons. As the coronavirus spreads across the globe like wildfire, so does misinformation and on the extreme conspiracy theories.
The Microsoft founder-turns-philanthropist has fought for a noble course in bringing vaccination programs to lesser developed countries. His concerns on the preparedness, or the lack of, in the world’s readiness to handle a global pandemic, was highlighted in a TedTalk in 2015.
In that talk, he shared an ominous message, “we’re not ready for the next epidemic.”
The 5-year old video on Youtube has resurfaced as conspiracy theorists attempt to link Gates to the coronavirus pandemic. There seems to be a concerted effort to discredit the global health change that the Gates Foundation is championing for.
A conspiracy theorist website, Infowar, accused that Gates has prior knowledge of the outbreak. It attempts to link the global pandemic to the Gates Foundation vaccine investments. Others go to the extreme of suggesting that it was Bill Gates who started the coronavirus pandemic.
Videos that attempt to smear Gates with misinformation and blatant lies made waves on the internet. Between February and April, conspiracy theories linking Gates to the pandemic has topped 12 million mentions on both social and mass media.
Ironically, groups who have been linking Gates to causing the pandemic has conveniently left out the fact that his foundation has channeled $250 million for curbing the disease and vaccine research.
The fact-twisting theorists went on to spread fear that Bill Gates is concocting a plan to inject trackers on individuals should his attempt at a Covid-19 vaccine turns successful. This accusation rubs on the fact that the public is sensitive to the breach of privacy, even if it’s for the sake of pandemic-control.
Of course, this theory is proven false. It is nothing but an intentional misinterpretation of Gate’s suggestion that individuals are given digital certificates to manage disease control amidst the outbreak better.
Social media are also abuzz with theories that resurfaced, such as suggesting that Gates is trying to depopulate the global population with his vaccination program. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as Gates’ idea on vaccination is all about reducing the infant mortality rate, particularly in developing countries.
Despite the conspiracy storm that surrounds him, Bill Gates has refused to comment and chosen to dismiss the rumors. Fact-based individuals wonder why the guns are trained on Bill Gates, despite his on-going effort as a major proponent for better health care.
It’s an open secret that Bill Gates shares opposite views with President Trump and, at times, offers direct rebuttals. In the recent move by Trump to cut off the WHO funding, Gates responded with “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds” in his tweet.
While Bill Gates enjoys broad support for his ideas and causes, he has his group of naysayers to deal with. Political groups, anti-vaxxers, and plain conspiracy believers are zooming for the kill.