No, Bill Gates does not plan to depopulate the earth with vaccinations.

No, Bill Gates does not plan to depopulate the earth with vaccinations.

What was claimed

The verdict

An article that quotes Microsoft founder Bill Gates as planning to depopulate the earth through forced vaccinations has been removed from the public record.

False. The quote attributed to Bill Gates has been taken out of context, but the article is readily available online.

By Renee Davidson

A Facebook post that has been circulating online since 2020, attributes a quote to Bill Gates to falsely suggest that he intends to depopulate the earth through forced vaccinations.

The post shows a woman holding a newspaper called The Sovereign Independent with a front page headline that reads: ‘Depopulate Through Forced Vaccination: The Zero Carbon Solution.’ 

Alongside the headline is a photo of Mr Gates with the quote: “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”

The Facebook user who posted the picture claimed “the article has been scrubbed and can no longer be found”.

Mr Gates did indeed say these words but not in support of depopulating the earth through forced vaccinations.

In 2010 Mr Gates presented a TED Talk titled Innovating to zero!, where he discussed the adverse effects of climate change and ways to reduce global carbon emissions. 

During the talk, he advocated for better health care to curb the world’s increasing population, given its contribution to rising carbon emissions. He made the statement in question during this presentation, but he did not call for reducing the world’s existing population.

Mr Gates has continued to advocate for better health care and vaccine production to reduce child mortality rates, repeatedly pointing to data that suggests lower mortality rates could lead to lower birth rates. 

During a 2011 interview with Forbes, he said this was because parents felt less inclined to have bigger families when they were more confident their children would survive to adulthood.

Mr Gates echoed this view in a 2018 YouTube video, stating that “as health improves, families choose to have less children and this effect is very, very dramatic”.

“We find that in every country of the world, this is repeated. The population growth goes down as we improve health,” Mr Gates said.  

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged billions of dollars to develop and deliver vaccines to the world’s poorest nations to reduce child mortality rates. Several articles that further outline the foundation’s cause can be found here and here.

As for the front-page article featured in the Facebook post, RMIT FactLab has traced its origins to the fourth edition of the now-defunct Irish newspaper, The Sovereign Independent, which promoted misinformation and conspiracy theories since it was established in 2009.

While its listed website is no longer active, it appears to have printed seven editions until 2012, which can be found on various archive websites.

FactLab conducted a Google reverse image search and found that the image of the front-page article has been shared hundreds of times on various social media platforms and has received thousands of reactions. 

Julia Bergin, a researcher with First Draft, a nonprofit global organisation that researches online misinformation, said the image had been repeatedly cited as ongoing proof of a conspiracy theory that hypothesises a secretly emerging totalitarian new world order.

Similar misleading claims involving Mr Gates’ 2010 TED Talk quote have been fact checked as false by several fact checkers, including AAP here, Reuters here and PolitiFact here.


The verdict

False. A quote from Bill Gates has been used out of context to suggest that he wants to depopulate the earth through forced vaccinations. In its correct context, it is clear Mr Gates is advocating better health outcomes for people, including through vaccinations, to keep the earth’s population at a sustainable level. Also, despite a claim to the contrary, a newspaper article citing Bill Gates’ quote featured in a Facebook post can be readily found online.

18 April 2022


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