Bill Gates blames social media for spreading coronavirus misinformation: media

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, receives an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Seattle, the United States, on Nov. 13, 2019. (Xinhua/Qin Lang)

“Sadly, the digital tools probably have been a net contributor to spreading what I consider crazy ideas,” Gates said.

(Xinhua) — With the United States, which has the most COVID-19 cases worldwide, still reporting tens of thousands of new cases daily, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has partly cast blame on U.S. social media companies for the spread of misinformation.

“Can the social media companies be more helpful on these issues?” Gates said during an interview with U.S. business magazine Fast Company. “What creativity do we have? Sadly, the digital tools probably have been a net contributor to spreading what I consider crazy ideas.”

In response, a Facebook spokesperson in an email to Fox News said his company has taken several important measures to spread useful information and combat misinformation since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the United States.

“Since January, we’ve worked closely with health organizations, like the CDC (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), to connect people to accurate information about COVID-19 and we will continue to do more,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ve directed over 2 billion people to resources from health authorities and just today launched an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram reminding everyone to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’re also aggressively going after misinformation and have applied warning labels to millions of pieces of misinformation and have removed content that could lead to imminent harm,” the spokesperson added.

In late April, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would give an extra 150 million U.S. dollars to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the 100 million dollars it had already donated.

However, Gates, co-chair of the foundation, complained to Fast Company that he found his name involved in some foul scheme.

“A lot of it comes in the form of conspiracy, where someone’s got some plot and my name even comes up as potentially at the center of some conspiracies, so it is a bit scary,” Gates told the magazine. “You’d want to be driven towards the facts in a crisis like this.”

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