Founder of Microsoft and Billionaire Bill Gates has 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.
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 Mr. 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.
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.
“Our foundation has given more money to buy vaccines to save lives than any group,” Mr. Gates said, referring to his eponymous foundation. “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,” Mr. Gates continued.