Despite what hordes of conspiracy theorists online may believe, Bill Gates, one of the world’s most magnanimous philanthropists, is not responsible for causing the coronavirus pandemic, he said today.
Gates was specifically asked on CNN’s global coronavirus town hall about the fringe group known as QAnon, which claims that dozens of politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse, among other theories.
Followers also believe there is a “deep state” effort to annihilate President Trump.
“The culmination of having social media spreading things that are very titillating, to have this pandemic where people are uncertain and they prefer to have a simple explanation, it’s meant that these things are really millions of messages a day, and people like myself and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci have become the target,” Gates said. “And so I hope the conspiracy stuff dies down. It’s really, the numbers kind of blow my mind. And it’s not just the fringe people that you would normally think of.”
Earlier this week: Twitter removed thousands of accounts linked to QAnon which has become notorious for spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation online.
“We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” Twitter’s safety team said late Tuesday in a tweet. “In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.”
More than 7,000 accounts have been removed in the last several weeks, according to Twitter. It also expects that additional actions it is taking to limit the reach of QAnon activity on its platform could affect 150,000 accounts worldwide.
QAnon began as a single conspiracy theory. But its followers now act more like a virtual cult, largely adoring and believing whatever disinformation the conspiracy community spins up.
CNN’s Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.