Will Bill Gates personally profit from a COVID-19 vaccine and does he own a company that plans to implant microchips in everyone to track them? No, that's not true: Gates has spent more than $300 million of his own fortune to encourage development of treatments and vaccines for the novel coronavirus, as well as efforts to slow the pandemic's spread, but there is no profit in it for the Microsoft co-founder. In fact, he and his wife, Melinda, have pledged to give almost all of their estimated $106 billion wealth to charity. ID2020, the entity that allegedly has a microchip plan for the world's population, does not have a microchip plan and is not owned by Gates.
These claims are among several conspiracy myths that villainize Gates, one of the world's most generous philanthropists, and are included in a post (archived here) shared on Facebook on April 9, 2020. It included a photo of Gates with Dr. Anthony Fauci, with the caption "This picture should disturb you. If it doesn't you better wake up" The text next to the image opened:
How are more Americans not completely outraged about what is going on in our country!?Does no one else find it weird that #BillGates - an unelected official, a computer guy with no medical degree, seems to be the world's leading health expert on the coronavirus, telling everyone what we need to do & when its safe to go back to normal?
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
The full text of these posts read:
How are more Americans not completely outraged about what is going on in our country!?Does no one else find it weird that #BillGates - an unelected official, a computer guy with no medical degree, seems to be the world's leading health expert on the coronavirus, telling everyone what we need to do & when its safe to go back to normal?Its a little odd, that the same guy who led Event 201 just a few weeks before the first outbreak in China, where they had an exercise preparing & planning for a pandemic outbreak & can you guess what virus they chose for this "hypothetical" exercise? If you guessed the coronavirus you must be a psychic!This is the same guy that's going to profit the most from this virus with his vaccines he's pushing on everyone. I can guarantee you right now they will make this a seasonal virus just like the flu, so they can profit off the vaccines every year.In the past week, he's been making the media rounds on CNN & other shows saying we can all gather again once we've all been vaccinated! In another interview, he said that you will need to provide a vaccination certificate to work & travel.He also has a company called ID 2020 which will track everyone through microchips the size of a grain of rice that they inject into you with a needle. It will track everywhere you go & everything you do, but please don't take my word for it, google ID 2020. This is not the future, they have already done it in some countries & even some workplaces.Might I also add that this diabolical man is also THE largest donor of the World Health Organization? Think about that folks. THERE. IS. AN. AGENDA!!!"
Gates participated in a "Ted Talk" in March titled "How we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic":
The "Event 201" reference in the post concerns a "tabletop exercise" on October 18, 2019, in which the John Hopkins Center for Health Security teamed up with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
A website for the event described it as a "global pandemic exercise":
The exercise illustrated areas where public/private partnerships will be necessary during the response to a severe pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and societal consequences.
Lead Stories debunked any suspicion that the exercise was evidence that Gates was involved in a coronavirus plot. Read our story for more: Fake News: 'High-Level Exercise' Conducted 3 Months Ago Did NOT Show That A Coronavirus Pandemic Could Kill 65 Million People
The claim that Gates is "going to profit the most from this virus with his vaccines he's pushing on everyone" is false. There are many potential vaccines in development, with some already in human testing. Gates does not have a personal financial interest in any of them, although he has spent money paving the way for the production and distribution if one of the vaccines is proven safe and effective.
The Wall Street Journal raised the question of Gates profiting from the pandemic in a May 11, 2020, profile titled Bill Gates Has Regrets:
The post's claim that coronavirus will become "a seasonal virus just like the flu," could be true. Scientists and medical professionals, including Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have warned that the coronavirus could be seasonal and return, if it actually is vanquished in the first place, with a new wave in the fall. Others say the virus "may never go away."
A spokeswoman for Mr. Gates said the couple have pledged to give most of their estimated $106 billion fortune to charity before they die or in their will. "These conspiracy theories and misinformation are completely false," she said.
What changes are we going to have to make to how businesses operate to maintain our economy while providing social distancing?
The question of which businesses should keep going is tricky. Certainly food supply and the health system. We still need water, electricity and the internet. Supply chains for critical things need to be maintained. Countries are still figuring out what to keep running.
Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.
The claim that Gates "has a company called ID 2020 which will track everyone through microchips the size of a grain of rice that they inject into you with a needle" is also unfounded.
A digital identity, as we see it is a grouping of digital identifiers. So, if you interact with any technology connected to the Internet, or to a mobile network, you have a digital identity.
However, the posting gets wrong the idea that microchips "the size of a grain of rice" would be injected into people to track everything we do, and everywhere we go. Lead Stories also examined this claim, which stems from a Microsoft filing of a patent application for "cryptocurrency system using body activity data." The patent makes no mention of microchips being implanted in people. Read our debunk titled Fact Check: Fact And Fiction About Microsoft Patent Application 'WO2020060606 - CRYPTOCURRENCY SYSTEM USING BODY ACTIVITY DATA'
Finally, the post makes this claim:
Might I also add that this diabolical man is also THE largest donor of the World Health Organization? Think about that folks. THERE. IS. AN. AGENDA!!!
It is true that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation may now be the single-largest donor to WHO, following the halt in funding by the United States -- a stoppage announced by President Trump on April 14, 2020. But that's according to the WHO's 2018-2019 budget.
In a May 2017 story titled "Meet the world's most powerful doctor: Bill Gates" in POLITICO, Gates' role with WHO was examined, even criticized.
Over the past decade, the world's richest man has become the World Health Organization's second biggest donor, second only to the United States and just above the United Kingdom. This largesse gives him outsized influence over its agenda, one that could grow as the U.S. and the U.K. threaten to cut funding if the agency doesn't make a better investment case.The result, say his critics, is that Gates' priorities have become the WHO's. Rather than focusing on strengthening health care in poor countries -- that would help, in their view, to contain future outbreaks like the Ebola epidemic -- the agency spends a disproportionate amount of its resources on projects with the measurable outcomes Gates prefers, such as the effort to eradicate polio.
Concerns about the software billionaire's sway -- roughly a quarter of WHO's budget goes toward polio eradication -- has led to an effort to rein him in. But he remains a force to be reckoned with, as WHO prepares to elect one of three finalists to lead the organization.
"All of the candidates are going to have to ally with him in some way," said Sophie Harman, associate professor of international politics at Queen Mary University of London. "You can't ignore him."
Evidence of Gates' unprecedented influence abounds in ways subtle and showy.
Already a decade ago, when Gates started throwing money into malaria eradication, top officials -- including the chief of the WHO's malaria program -- raised concerns that the foundation was distorting research priorities. "The term often used was 'monopolistic philanthropy', the idea that Gates was taking his approach to computers and applying it to the Gates Foundation," said a source close to the WHO board."
Here are some of the other false claims about Bill Gates debunked by Lead Stories;