Twitter exploded with conspiracy theories linking Bill Gates and depopulation, including the COVID-19 vaccinations. Chesnot/Getty Images
Conspiracy theories that Bill Gates is connected to depopulation, and the spread of the COVID-19 vaccination online.
Many tweets refer to a 2010 TED Talk in which Gates spoke about reducing carbon emissions.
Conspiracy theorists have often targeted billionaire philanthropists.
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Twitter is abuzz with conspiracy theories about Bill Gates. They misrepresent a quote by the Microsoft founder regarding population growth.
On Tuesday night and Wednesday, false tweets suggesting that Gates supports depopulating Earth were posted on the platform. They were still available on Thursday morning.
Many tweets refer to a 2010 TED Talk, Innovation to Zero!, in which Gates discussed how to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
Gates stated that "First, there's population." He also spoke about ways to reduce emissions. "The world has 6.8 billion people today. This number is expected to rise to nine billion. If we do a great job in new vaccines, health care and reproductive health services, it could be lowered by 10% to 15%. We see an increase of 1.3."
Gates was referring to how vaccines could be used to reduce unsustainable population growth. This was Reuters' April report. It came as social media users started spreading the same quote without context. Forbes reported that Gates had seen data suggesting that lower mortality rates could lead to lower birth rates. This would be a good way to address overpopulation.
Gates stated to Forbes, "It goes against commonsense." Once we realized that, we moved a lot into vaccines.
Melinda Gates (Gates' ex-wife) explained why improving public healthcare could reduce overpopulation on Bill's blog Gates Notes.
Population sizes don't rise when more children live beyond the age of 5 and mothers have the power to decide when and if they want to have children. She said they fall. "Parents have fewer kids when they are confident that their children will live to adulthood."
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One user incorrectly tweeted that Gates wanted to reduce the "unsustainable" population. In his TED Talk, Gates argued that the world's population growth is unsustainable and not that a specific population had to be decreased.
Little Dee, a musician with over 26,000 Twitter followers, tweeted a clip from the TED Talk Tuesday with the caption "2010 bill gates" and the caption, “How to lower the population.” Little Dee's tweet received over 22,000 views.
On Tuesday morning, another user shared a meme that featured Gates' face flanked with text bubbles. One text message claims that Gates has visited Jeffrey Epstein's island "Island" numerous times. Reuters reported that Gates and Epstein met, but there is no evidence Gates ever visited Epstein's island.
Errol Webber is a cinematographer and unsuccessful candidate for California's District37 House seat in 2020 elections. He tweeted a video of Gates speaking at a different TED 2015 event. Webber said in the caption of his tweet, "Tell me that all this isn’t orchestrated."
The 2015 talk was titled "The next epidemic?" Gates stated that we are not prepared for the dangers of a highly infectious disease and an epidemic, and warned that preparations must be made. Clips from the TED talk have been circulated by conspiracy theorists, who baselessly claim that Gates personally planned the spread.
Webber's tweet received over 25,000 views and 1,000 likes. It also got 700 retweets. Many commenters shared Webber's sentiments and spread conspiracy theories about Gates. As of Thursday morning, the post was still accessible to view.
Webber and Little Dee did not immediately reply to inquiries for clarifications on their tweets.
The platform created an event page to address the conspiracy theories being spread on Twitter. It is called "Bill Gates: Health Care and Vaccines Could Reduce Unsustainable Population Growth in a 2010 TED Talk," after the hashtag "Bill Gates” became popular on the platform.
This event page included a list from Reuters, Associated Press and FactCheck.org that fact-checked the inaccurate claims made about Gates.
According to Twitter's rules, users cannot post misleading information about the COVID-19 pandemic, or the efficacy vaccines.
The platform rules also state that users are not allowed to share false or misleading information regarding "vaccines or vaccination programs that suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are part in a deliberate or intention to cause harm or to control populations."
Twitter didn't respond to a request to comment.
Conspiracy theorists often target Gates. As Insider reported, in February some people accused Gates of being responsible for the Texas mass power outage. False conspiracy theories about Gates' COVID-19 vaccines which contain microchips that could allow Microsoft and Gates to track individuals were also circulated on social media.
According to Zignal Labs intelligence company, conspiracy theories linking Gates to COVID-19 were reported to The New York Times over 1.2 Million times on social media from February 2020 to April 2020.
Insider has the original article.