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'Crazy and evil': Bill Gates surprised by pandemic conspiracies


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'Crazy and evil': Bill Gates surprised by pandemic conspiracies

By Kate Kelland

 

2021-01-27T080835Z_1_LYNXMPEH0Q0EW_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-GATES-CONSPIRACIES.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a conversation at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing, China November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates says he has been taken aback by the volume of "crazy" and "evil" conspiracy theories about him spreading on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, but said on Wednesday he would like to explore what is behind them.

 

In an interview with Reuters, Gates said the millions of online posts and "crazy conspiracy theories" about him and about top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci had likely taken hold in part because of the combination of a frightening viral pandemic and the rise of social media.

 

"Nobody would have predicted that I and Dr. Fauci would be so prominent in these really evil theories," Gates said.

 

"I'm very surprised by that. I hope it goes away."

 

Gates, a billionaire who stepped down as chairman of Microsoft Corp in 2014, has through his philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed at least $1.75 billion to the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes support for some makers of vaccines, diagnostics and potential treatments.

 

Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates said Wednesday he has been taken aback by the volume of “crazy” and “evil” conspiracy theories about him spreading on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, but said he would like to explore what is behind them. Fred Katayama reports.

 

Since the pandemic began a year ago, millions of conspiracies have spread over the Internet, fuelling misinformation about the coronavirus, its origins and the motives of those working to fight it.

 

They include claims that Fauci and Gates created the pandemic to try and control people, that they want to profit from the virus' spread, and that they want to use vaccines to insert trackable microchips into people.

 

"But do people really believe that stuff?," Gates asked.

 

"We're really going to have to get educated about this over the next year and understand .. how does it change peoples' behaviour and how should we have minimized this?"

 

EXCITED ABOUT BIDEN

Gates praised Fauci and Francis Collins, head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, as "smart" and "wonderful people", and said he looked forward to seeing them able to work effectively and speak the truth under the new administration of President Joe Biden.

 

During former President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic, Gates said, it had "sometimes felt like they were the only sane people in the U.S. government."

 

"I'm excited about the team that Biden has picked" to tackle the health crisis, Gates said.

 

Gates said he was also pleased that under Biden, the United States has rejoined the World Health Organization, and "that he's appointed smart people, and the fact that Dr. Fauci won't be suppressed."

 

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-01-28
 
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Gates predicted COVID-19 in 2016. While I don't like the company he built, he is a smart guy.

When you have 50% of Americans still believing in angels, it's no surprise they should believe in weird stuff as well.

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1 hour ago, Lacessit said:

Gates predicted COVID-19 in 2016. While I don't like the company he built, he is a smart guy.

When you have 50% of Americans still believing in angels, it's no surprise they should believe in weird stuff as well.

Right. And the most worrying aspect is not so much how stupid these theories are, but how many people believe them.

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It beggers belief how gullible people are and how destructive this kind of misinformation is people who deliberately and knowingly spread this bs should be jailed imo especially the media and crackpots on social media there needs to be consequences and mr gates and family and dr Fauci a big shout out to you both outstanding human beings imo 

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19 minutes ago, TheFishman1 said:

People must be really gullible they believed in Trump and that guy had more lies and conspiracy theories than anybody ever in the history of politics

 

trump was one of the main promoters of conspiracy theories in the USA during his presidency; it's unfortunately that apparently he cannot be impeached for his conspiracy activities, presumably due to Free Speech. IMO USA urgently needs to overhaul legislation concerning conspiracy theories which in effect are hostile and damaging to society for political purposes.

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7 minutes ago, simple1 said:

 

trump was one of the main promoters of conspiracy theories in the USA during his presidency; it's unfortunately that apparently he cannot be impeached for his conspiracy activities, presumably due to Free Speech. IMO USA urgently needs to overhaul legislation concerning conspiracy theories which in effect are hostile and damaging to society for political purposes.

Whilst I agree with your post-I still cleave to the idea that trump was a carefully crafted and constructed puppet put forward and controlled by various media driven "influencers"-he as much reflected the state of mind of the radical-right as led it.

 

The original "twitter" (social media) idea was quite brilliant but-due to the very nature of the beast-could not really be controlled.One must not forget that up to the last days it was not really clear as to just who was leading who by the nose..

 

I would conjecture that most Republican politicians live in mortal fear of the radical right media-they did a very bad bargain with the devil on that one.

 

(but..that might be my very own conspiracy theory😅)

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41 minutes ago, simple1 said:

 

trump was one of the main promoters of conspiracy theories in the USA during his presidency; it's unfortunately that apparently he cannot be impeached for his conspiracy activities, presumably due to Free Speech. IMO USA urgently needs to overhaul legislation concerning conspiracy theories which in effect are hostile and damaging to society for political purposes.

Since we don't really have freedom of speech, there are limits, this shows how it must be regulated more.  Conspiracy theories are destroying the US, and other parts of the world.  Social media needs to be held to account for allowing these lies to be published and amplified.  Sadly, some aren't mentally competent enough to suss out what's true and what's not.

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Being philanthropic in a densely overpopulated world is a luxury I do not permit myself to .

The suicidal overpopulation has to stop , or our species has no future .

Covid helps to do that . And to reduce pollution .

It may be a good thing after all ...?

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As my sister in law stated; 'you really never knew just how many of your neighbors were complete idiots'.

 

1 hour ago, Lacessit said:

When you have 50% of Americans still believing in angels, it's no surprise they should believe in weird stuff as well.

 

It doesn't surprise me about americans. However both on Thaivisa and the younger sets facebook sites, like the CM ones. A whole passel of Brits & Aussies are knee deep in this rubbish heap too with an assorted crew of euros, not to leave them out. Somehow I expected better, my bad.

 

We are making these great technological leaps while another subsection of the populace is returning to a mediaeval mindset. Half expecting to see a bunch of flagellants marching around cities towns. Flagellants were also notorious for racist pogrom violence, it would fit right in.  

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14 minutes ago, LomSak27 said:

Flagellants were also notorious for racist pogrom violence, it would fit right in.  

Not tot be confused with Flatulents, who are just full of wind .....

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22 minutes ago, LomSak27 said:

 

We are making these great technological leaps while another subsection of the populace is returning to a mediaeval mindset. Half expecting to see a bunch of flagellants marching around cities towns. Flagellants were also notorious for racist pogrom violence, it would fit right in.  

The great technological leaps are leaving a considerable number of people behind that have no understanding of where those leaps are taking them. How many Americans understand when the Founding Fathers brought in the Second Amendment, they had no knowledge of firearms that could wipe out dozens of people in a minute? How many people understand the implications of AI, and how it is revolutionizing manufacturing and distribution processes to the point where humans are unnecessary?

It's always easier to create a conspiracy theory to explain one's own misfortune. Change has never been easy.

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8 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

The great technological leaps are leaving a considerable number of people behind that have no understanding of where those leaps are taking them. How many Americans understand when the Founding Fathers brought in the Second Amendment, they had no knowledge of firearms that could wipe out dozens of people in a minute? How many people understand the implications of AI, and how it is revolutionizing manufacturing and distribution processes to the point where humans are unnecessary?

It's always easier to create a conspiracy theory to explain one's own misfortune. Change has never been easy.

And sadly, many of these people get their information from dodgy sites, social media and dodgy politicians.  Thus skewing their view of the world and what's going on.

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We can take heart from the Twitter's ban on Trump that resulted in a whopping decline of 73% of misinformation. Trump's manipulation on social media has influenced and emboldened the rise of misleading information and conspiracy theories in the last 4 years. With him gone and not giving any more oxygen to these neo-conservative and conspiracy right wing groups, we can hope that it will start a decline of these kind of crazy and evil contents. 

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13 minutes ago, Eric Loh said:

We can take heart from the Twitter's ban on Trump that resulted in a whopping decline of 73% of misinformation. Trump's manipulation on social media has influenced and emboldened the rise of misleading information and conspiracy theories in the last 4 years. With him gone and not giving any more oxygen to these neo-conservative and conspiracy right wing groups, we can hope that it will start a decline of these kind of crazy and evil contents. 

I think that 73% drop was about voter fraud.  Still lots of fake info out there.  Especially about vaccines, Bill Gates, etc.  QAnon is alive and well....sadly....

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11 minutes ago, Jeffr2 said:

I think that 73% drop was about voter fraud.  Still lots of fake info out there.  Especially about vaccines, Bill Gates, etc.  QAnon is alive and well....sadly....

You are right about that. Still Trump's incumbency help propagate conspiracy theories. He is viewed as a hero by the movement and has described QAnon activists as 'people who love our country". With him gone and social media suspension of accounts promoting QAnon conspiracy theories, we can expect those contents to decline. 

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It's not limited to Americans and not limited to just "English speaking" countries. Plenty of stupid people all over the world. 

People see a post/tweet from a friend (or someone who has more than a couple of "followers") and decide it must be the gospel truth. No matter how outrageous and stupid it sounds, they won't bother looking at the source or doing any fact- checking because a) that takes effort and b) they want to believe the BS no matter how outlandish it may be.

Like all the idiots who think that "5G" is responsible for the virus (ignoring that it is spreading in areas/countries with no "5G" at all). Or that this is all a plot by certain people to control the world. (Or, where morons in individual countries like Canada, think it's all a plot by the current government, ignoring that it is happening in places that couldn't give a <deleted> about the current Prime Minister, his government, or Canada in general. Never let facts or logic get in the way of a good conspiracy theory though, right ?)

It doesn't help that real journalism and reporting have taken a back seat to sensationalism and ratings. Where "popularity" is more important than truth. 

Not long ago a Thai friend posted one of those memes that had some BS about covid which was easily disproven (like the 5G BS). I responded by pointing out it was BS and then posted links to articles showing that hoax had been going around since at least last April.
His response was an "Umm OK" as though he really didn't believe it was BS (or didn't want to, like so many others). (At least he hasn't posted any more BS since then.)

It's like decades ago when people started getting into "email" and all those spam mails were going around about how Bill Gates was going to send you hundreds of dollars for every person you forwarded the email to (and more for all the emails those people forwarded it to). People actually thought they were going to get millions of dollars for simply forwarding an email to a couple dozen friends.


 

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4 minutes ago, Eric Loh said:

You are right about that. Still Trump's incumbency help propagate conspiracy theories. He is viewed as a hero by the movement and has described QAnon activists as 'people who love our country". With him gone and social media suspension of accounts promoting QAnon conspiracy theories, we can expect those contents to decline. 

And hopefully with this billion dollar lawsuit against the BS spewed at Dominion, those who try this in the future might pause a bit.  I hope the lawsuit is successful.  And it looks like it will be.

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It's important to use the system to strike back at this Neo Dark Age lunacy. If a prominent person with a platform spreads nonsense, that person should be sued incessantly.

 

As Jeffr2 noted above, the suits filed by Dominion against sidney powell and rudy, and the likely forthcoming suits against Fox, maria bartiromo, lou dobbs, etc., are one way to fight back. 45 lost his platform, which makes nonsense more difficult, though not impossible, to spread.

 

I guess anyone who becomes famous, especially the uber wealthy, are always going to bring in the wingnuts and moonbats to foment some sort of batshoot crazy conspiracy. It happened to the Rothschilds, George Soros, Bill Gates and others. At the same time, there are REAL wealthy people who do cause great harm, such as trust fund kid rebecca mercer (who funds even QAnon-supporting candidates for public office) or the Koch brothers (who may now have seen what their funding has wrought and are pulling back).

 

Pushing the nonsense into the isolated corners of the dark web will not make it go away, but suing public voices for spreading falsehoods will ameliorate the spread as much as possible.

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No one trusts the main stream media. There has been too much political siding. 

 

This left a gap for social media, but the issue is people are stupid, the ‘interesting strory’ is the one which is inflammatory, inflammatory is more interesting, there’s more drama, more sensationalism, stupid people thrive on and spread this stuff. 

 

A true story of the work Bill Gates does is not interesting, its boring for many, his work on sanitation in Africa etc, who actually knows about that ??? - yet everyone has heard of the Conspiracy relating to him and Covid-19 which is outright idiotic. 

 

The problem is a combination of social media and idiots. The issue is a moral one. 

With freedom of speech comes responsibility, people don’t take this responsibility seriously, they believe stories without fact checking, repost ’sound bites’, ‘memes’ and one liners which give the wrong impressions are often taken out of context and are more often than not libellous.

 

Its no wonder sites such as facebook now fact check and take down ‘inflammatory and fake news’ - people then get upset with Facebook who are forced to take responsibility for us (the masses) as in aggregate we only spread the most fake, ridiculous and clickbatey stories... 

 

........ Its become far more important to be first rather than be accurate, its become far more important to get likes rather than get it right...  

 

Human nature manifests itself in some disgusting ways... those who know nothing pedal conspiracy while those who have worked themselves into positions of philanthropic power are judged with the same skepticism as a power hungry career politicians or corrupt business men. Sometimes they are judge not for what they have done, but for nothing more than assumptions that they must have done something bad to get where they area. 

 

 

 

I like freedom of speech but I’m sick of reading the news people have pedalled without thinking. 

 

I’m starting to wonder if a control of the media is not actually a good thing - people are too stupid to know the difference between fake and real news. 

 

 

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There are a number of buzzwords used which highlight the user as paranoid conspiracist...  One word to highlight the user as a conspiracist nutter is ‘Plandemic’....  as if the whole ‘Covid-19’ situation has played out to a script... 

 

I always see these buzz-words peddled by the true believing nutters, those who are of the delusion that they are the only ones clear eyed enough to see the truth in a world full of craziness and lies - Their selfrighteousness shines through as they take pleasure in attempting to unhinge those who don’t buy into the BS they are peddling they’ll describe the non-believers with another juvenile buzz-word popular with conspiracists... ’sheeple’... 

 

When anyone uses Plandemic, Sheeple, or some similar such term, my ’tin-hat-nutter’ alert starts chiming !

 

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A conspiracy troll post has been removed:

 

UPDATED NOTICE TO MEMBERS POSTING ON THAIVISA AMID COVID-19 - 25 MARCH 2020

In addition to the guidelines posted below and those detailed in the Thaivisa forum rules and following the announcement that Thai government will invoke emergency powers in order to help deal with the COVID-19 situation in the country, Thaivisa requests members posting on the forum to abide by the following:

 Do not post news or any form of content, including video, audio, images, social media posts that contains messages that may cause people to be afraid or intentionally distort information, causing misunderstanding during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Any posts or topics which our moderation team deems to be scaremongering, deliberately misleading or has been posted to deliberately distort information will be removed without warning. You may also be subject to a posting suspension or have your profile permanently suspended from the site. 

Thank you for your co-operation.

 

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5 hours ago, Lacessit said:

Gates predicted COVID-19 in 2016. While I don't like the company he built, he is a smart guy.

When you have 50% of Americans still believing in angels, it's no surprise they should believe in weird stuff as well.

My thought exactly. 

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3 hours ago, nobodysfriend said:

Being philanthropic in a densely overpopulated world is a luxury I do not permit myself to .

The suicidal overpopulation has to stop , or our species has no future .

Covid helps to do that . And to reduce pollution .

It may be a good thing after all ...?

“Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

 

"Man," said the Ghost, "if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”


― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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The IQ & commonsense approach to digesting the media is sadly lacking in the US.

There is good reason to limit the media to avoid this misinterpretation  of folks who

unfortunately cannot be trusted to sort the wheat from the chaff

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8 hours ago, webfact said:

"But do people really believe that stuff?," Gates asked.

People will believe anything, there are Americans (& probably many others) who believe that the world is flat contrary to all evidence otherwise, e.g. Space Station & Satellite Photo's, round world flights / cruises, etc.

There are even some that believe I exist.

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8 hours ago, Lacessit said:

Gates predicted COVID-19 in 2016. While I don't like the company he built, he is a smart guy.

When you have 50% of Americans still believing in angels, it's no surprise they should believe in weird stuff as well.

 

There's nothing smart about Gates, he didn't even get through university.

 

He just hooked up with the right powerful person in the government which supported his business.

 

Microsoft sucked in the early years with badly designed software, buggy, countless 'upgrades' and tons of bad baggage that lasted until Windows 10 came out decades later. 

 

It's not what you know but who you know

 

 

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