Washington – (BBC):
In 2015, Bill Gates took the stage in Vancouver to deliver a lecture, in which he issued a stark warning.
On that day, Gates told the audience, “If something causes 10 million deaths in the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly contagious virus, not a war.”
His warning words received some media coverage at the time, including the BBC, but many passed by.
But now the lecture video has garnered more than 64 million views, and many have shown more interest in the reasons why Gates said than the content of the speech itself.
Some accuse Gates of leading a class of world elite. Others see him as the leader of attempts to strip the world of his inhabitants.
Others accuse him of trying to make vaccination against diseases compulsory, as some accuse him of trying to implant electronic slides in human bodies.
The face of public health
“There are a lot of intrigues surrounding Bill Gates,” said Roy Smith, of First Draft News, a specialist on modern journalism and fact-checking. “It is like a black magic doll that people pierce with their theories of conspiracy. Not surprisingly, it has always been the face of public health.”
According to a study by The New York Times in cooperation with Zygnal Labs, the theories that accuse Gates of being connected to the Corona virus are mentioned 1.2 million times on television and social media.
A large portion of this content has been published on Facebook where it has been shared millions of times.
First Craft News also concluded that the Chinese video site “Tik Tok” has become the center of these plots.
The BBC fact-finding team examined a number of these strangest conspiracies.
Among those theories of the conspiracy is that the Bill Gates Foundation and his wife, Melinda Charity, have tested vaccines for children in Africa and India, resulting in thousands of deaths and irreversible injuries. One of the conspiracy theories has even indicated that he faces trial in India.
Another conspiracy theory suggests that Gates widely distributed in Kenya a tetanus vaccine containing a drug that causes miscarriage.
A video on the Facebook page of “The New American Magazine” on Facebook promotes the idea that Gates seeks to strip the world of its population through vaccinations and abortions, and also links Gates and the Communist Party of China. The video was viewed 200,000 times and was shared 6,500 times.
A video was also seen accusing Bill Gates of seeking to plant electronic slides in human bodies more than two million times on YouTube.
Rich and famous
But how did Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who lavished millions in public health from his charity, become the focus of conspiracy theories for the Corona virus? Professor Joseph Oshinski, a professor of political science at the University of Miami and author of a book on conspiracy theories, thinks the reason is simply that Gates is rich and famous .
“The conspiracy theories mean accusing the influential people of doing horrific things,” Oshinski told the BBC. “The theories are generally the same, with names changing.”
“Before Gates there was George Suras, the Rothschild family and the Rockefeller family.”
Although some conspiracy theories quickly die and lose momentum, the ones that last include “great villains and deal with issues that people care about.”
“This was a repertoire of conspiracy theories for long, long periods,” said Oshinsky.
Oshinsky believes that although these theories “do not even contain a grain of health”, people still believe them.
More than a quarter of Americans and 44 percent of Republicans think Bill Gates wants to use the Covid 19 vaccine to grow electronic slices under people’s skin, according to a Yahoo study with YouGov.
Smith believes that there is always a “part of the truth” that is used in conspiracy theories out of context.
For example, the Gates Foundation funded a study, conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year, to store the history of vaccines for each person in a form of dye. This dye cannot be seen with the naked eye, and it can be applied at the same time as the person is vaccinated.
The roots of conspiracy theories are difficult to ascertain, but the Internet is believed to help spread it.
“Before the Internet, conspiracy theories were on a small scale and found in their own bubble or limited society, but the Internet allows them to spread across different political and societal groups,” Smith said.
He said that conspiracy theories spread widely during the time of the pandemic, because people are in a psychological state that permits it.
“This crisis is unprecedented in its scale and extent,” Smith said. “There is a lot of uncertainty, and people hate uncertainty.”
To overcome this, people resort to what are known as collective understanding attempts.
“We hold on to any information in an attempt to sow any certainty, order and logic within ourselves, and this is the time when rumors begin. Conspiracy theories, including the ones related to Bill Gates, fill the cognitive void,” Smith said.
“We should laugh.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation set aside $ 300 million to tackle Covid-19, and the institution has paid no attention to false allegations about it.
In a statement, the Foundation told BBC: “We are concerned about conspiracy theories that are circulating on the Internet and the harm they may cause to public health.”
“At a time like this, when the world is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis, it is regrettable that people publish misleading information at a time when we must all cooperate to save everyone’s life. The best thing to do to address Covid-19 is to spread the facts,” the statement added.
In an interview with the BBC, Gates expressed surprise that he had become the focus of conspiracy theories.
“It is a matter of concern that there is so much madness in the world,” Gates said. “When a vaccine is developed, we want 80 percent of the world to use it, and if people hear that it is a conspiracy, they will be reluctant to vaccinate and the disease will continue to kill people.”
“I’m surprised that some of these rumors are centered on my personality,” Gates added. “We just donate money, and we think about protecting children from disease, but it’s not about electronic chips or any of that. These things make us laugh sometimes.”