The “Creator” of COVID-19: How Bill Gates become the object of attack by conspiracy theory

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — In February, the theory that billionaire Bill Gates was linked to the pandemic of the coronavirus COVID-19 and even used it to take control of humanity gained popularity on the Internet. Such theories are easily created and accepted on faith by people who are in severe stress and lose their sense of internal control, experts explain, as written by Forbes.

What happened.

On January 21, a Twitter user affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy community wrote that Bill Gates knew in advance about the COVID-19 pandemic. The tweeter concluded from the fact that the British Pirbright Institute, funded by the Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Foundation, held a patent that advocated the development of an attenuated form of coronavirus, which could potentially be used as a vaccine for the prevention of respiratory diseases in birds and other animals. Users of social networks picked up this conclusion, the subject has reached even to the Russian government channels. After that, an old video on TED Talks, where Gates talks about the threat of a new virus, began to spread by opponents of vaccines. In a few weeks, it gained 25 million views. Part of the situation exacerbated by the March 31 Gates column in The Washington Post, in which he claims that the US missed the opportunity to stop the spread of coronavirus.

What is the scale of the campaign.

According to Zignal Labs, a media analytics company, misinformation about Gates’s involvement in the creation and distribution of coronavirus is now the most popular of all the false theories about COVID-19. Media analysts counted about 16,000 Facebook posts, which commented on and liked nearly 900,000 times. On YouTube, the 10 most popular videos that share information about Gates and COVID-19 were watched 10 million times in March and April. In total, from February to April, this theory was mentioned 1.2 million times in social networks and in TV programs. In the end, Bill Gates and Coronavirus “defeated” the theory that people are becoming victims of COVID-19 due to 5G radio waves.

What was actually discussed.

In April 2015, when the Ebola epidemic raged in Africa, Bill Gates spoke on the TED Talks platform. “When I was a child, we were all afraid of nuclear war, we kept canned food and water in the basements of houses. But now the world is facing the threat of a serious virus that could kill more than 10 million people around the world, ”said Gates. He noted that a lot of investment goes into deterring nuclear weapons, but one should invest in preventing possible epidemics. “We are not ready for global epidemics now. There are no associations of epidemiologists trained by doctors, ”summarized Gates. Ebola, fortunately, did not spread by airborne droplets, so it was localized in Africa. But the next virus, the billionaire warned, can be much more dangerous, it can be transmitted through the air, and infected people will not have any signs of the disease. It turns out

What is known for QAnoon.

The movement started in October 2017 after user Q, calling himself one of Donald Trump’s close advisers on the 4chan image board, began to actively talk about how things are supposedly really at the top of the U.S. political elite. For example, he wrote about the existence of a large-scale international scheme of sexual exploitation of children, in which the leaders of the US Democratic Party and many American celebrities are involved, and which Trump is allegedly preparing to expose.

How did Bill Gates react?

“Man’s accusation of creating a coronavirus sounds kind of weird,” said Bill Gates in an interview with CNN. – I do not think that any significant number of people believe in this. But there are people who want to look at coronavirus through the prism of politics rather than science, and this can lead to strange views on the problem that do not allow us to tell the truth or look at real numbers rationally.” Back in 2008, Gates moved away from Microsoft’s operational management and focused on charity. Together with his wife Melinda, he heads the world’s largest private charity fund, whose amount amounted to $ 46.8 billion at the end of 2018. The organization’s work is aimed at improving the global healthcare system and has gained particular relevance against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic – the businessman is a long-standing advocate of the importance of universal vaccination. Today, the fund sponsors seven of the most promising companies, developing a vaccine from COVID-19, and has allocated $ 10 million to help healthcare providers in China and Africa. However, the billionaire himself does not believe that vaccine production will begin this year. He believes that the process will only be launched in a year or two.

Why do people believe conspiracy theories.

The emergence of conspiracy theories – a theory of a powerful external enemy – is connected at the psychological level with a sense of internal control, says Alexander Arkhipov, senior researcher at the School of Actual Humanitarian Studies of the ION RANEPA. A person in a sober mind understands that there are events in the world that he can control and which cannot. “In a calm state, people are able to adequately assess their capabilities, and current events are perceived soberly. But in a stressful situation, if the sense of internal control decreases, the defense reaction is activated. In this case, an image of an external enemy is created, which controls everything. This practice helps restore a sense of internal control. Moreover, the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories has nothing to do with the level of education, age or gender, but groups of people are more likely to believe in them,

According to her, a person usually wants to get an explanation of why an event occurs, especially in a situation where this event changes his life. Scientific information, including medical information, answers very poorly the question of why a new unknown threat appeared and how to respond to it. The conspiratorial theories in which the external enemy is involved give clear explanations of who is to blame (Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, doctors) and what to do (do not comply with quarantine, avoid tests, because this is an excuse for encoding).

How to deal with fake news.

World practice has come up with two ways to fight, says Arkhipova. The first is fines or criminal punishment, but this method works poorly and is used very little where. In Russia, at the same time, ordinary women who repeat rumors from the store are fined for disseminating “knowingly false information”, but they are not fined for state channels and fashion bloggers, the expert notes.

The second way is to increase media literacy, courses on developing skills in finding the source, as well as creating sites where fakes and rumors are quickly analyzed so that a person who receives a message in the chat can quickly check it.

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