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Bill Gates conspiracy theories echo through Africa

As the novel coronavirus wreaks intercontinental havoc, Bill Gates is the new bete noire for conspiracy theorists worldwide including in Africa where a Kenyan politician's false online post has added major fuel to the spread of false information.

While Gates's vaccine programmes on the continent have long provided ample fodder for royal engagement, The bogus claims have gained new extender amid the pandemic.

referring to March 15, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko published an old video of Gates warning about residuals of a future pandemic, each of the caption "Bill Gates told us about the corona virus 2015 (sic),

While the clip shows the philanthropist telling viewers that the world was unprepared for global outbreaks in his TED talk five years ago, He made no mention of the coronavirus.

Sonko's post generated so many communications among his two million plus Facebook followers that it remains the most prolific global post about Gates in the COVID 19 era, in order to social media analysis tool CrowdTangle.

already, It has been shared hundreds million times and has garnered 38 million views on social media.

The post highlights the role played by local public figures in spreading false or misleading claims all over the world, according to the Washington based Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), Which studies disinformation across the globe.

"They most frequently travel beyond. specific topic communities when an influencer, say prominent celebrity, Or even hard drive media source, amplifies them, DFRLab's Zarine Kharazian assured AFP.

"Once they've achieved this level of spread, They migrate across different languages,

'All vigorous elites'

Rumours about links between Gates and the current pandemic have enjoyed rrn particular broad appeal among different conspiracy communities worldwide since the virus erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

Since jan, far more 683,000 posts globally from public Facebook pages and groups signified Gates, leading to nearly 53 million likes, offers and views.

"One commonality of conspiracy theory theories that seems to span borders, languages, And cultures is a mistrust in 'all powerful elites' and loan companies, Kharazian defined.

"Gates's abundant profile, Outspokenness and active engagement in international public health work has made him a prime target for this unique strain of conspiracy,

Among typically the most popular claims in Africa is the idea that Gates wants to control mankind with the use of microchip implants or digital tattoos.

Conspiracy theorists have also alleged that Gates stands to profit handsomely from an eventual vaccine and that his foundation patented care years ago before unleashing the novel coronavirus.

Others again believe he created the virus for population control a sensitive point in Africa where much of the visible push back online has focused on the issue of a COVID 19 vaccine and experimental trials on _a href= russian ladies_/a_ local test subjects.

Past controversies fuel hunch

a medical history of Western medical abuses in Africa explains some of the backlash, rumoured Sara Cooper, Senior scientist at the South African medical research Council's Cochrane Centre.

"throughout the last few decades, There have been various incidents of medical research conducted in Africa which have involved gross human rights abuses, She shared AFP.

They range from forced sterilisation findings carried out in Namibia when it was part of Germany's colonies in the late 1800s, To controversial drug trials conducted by Western pharmaceutical giants in various African nations in the 1990s.

The distrust of Western vaccines was signaled by a recent viral post, Which claimed that French maverick researchers Didier Raoult had warned Africans against using "niche Gates vaccine" this contained "poison,

AFP Fact Check debunked the claim Raoult never made the and a vaccine does not yet exist.

But it arranged a chord: french version of the post was shared more than 47,000 times prior to being taken down.

political figures in Nigeria have also pushed similar narratives including Femi Fani Kayode, A former aviation minister notorious for sharing misinformation along political and religious lines.

Fani Kayode, Who has a strong following among christian believers from southern Nigeria, Has shared multiple posts claiming Gates was part of a deceptive power elite, Which wanted to achieve world domination using the coronavirus and 5G technology among other things.

WHO tiffs back

As herpes numbers and rumours spiralled, Agencies like the World Health connection (which often) Raced to stem the spread of untruths by running online campaigns and helping governments to set up dedicated web portals.
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