The video has been digitally altered. The original interview did not feature the questions seen in the viral clip.
A video purportedly showing an interview between a journalist and Bill Gates has been circulating on social media, claiming that the Microsoft co-founder was cornered with COVID-19 vaccine-related questions. The interviewer accuses "Gates" of "stealing Microsoft" and asks whether he has a behavioral pattern of "taking technology from other people that you don't understand, selling a product full of bugs, causing massive damage and profiting from it in a spectacular way." The anchor further appears to ask questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and says that the jabs have caused countless side effects and deaths. To this, "Gates" appears to accept her assessment but says, "That's a very immature way of looking at it." Eventually, "Gates" appears to end the interview abruptly due to the interviewer's line of questioning.
The video was shared by several users across multiple social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, claiming that Gates had been cornered by the journalist and hailing it as proof Gates was a "fraudster." One such iteration of the video on Twitter garnered over 100 likes, while a particularly viral version chalked up over 60,000 views and 1,200 likes.
We noticed that the quality of the video was very low, nearly obscuring the figures, and the audio did not match the mouth movements of Gates and the journalist. Thereafter, a reverse image search identified that the viral clip had been created using digital manipulation tools, and audio had been overlaid to give the impression of a conversation between the two. In the original video, the journalist did not accuse Gates of stealing Microsoft and causing COVID-19 deaths.
ABC News Australia journalist Sarah Ferguson interviewed Bill Gates in January 2023. The complete 13-minute-long video interview was published on YouTube on January 31 with the title "Bill Gates complained to tech companies about 'laughable' COVID-19 conspiracy theories." We found that the viral video was from this interview, featuring Gates and Ferguson in the same setup.
However, the questions in the viral video were not brought up during the interview. In the real interview, Ferguson and Gates discussed various topics, including the climate change threat, the origin of COVID-19 and related conspiracy theories, Gates' association with Jeffrey Epstein, and his philanthropic endeavors, among other things. Gates also said in the interview that he had complained to technology companies regarding the spread of COVID-19 conspiracy theories about him. At no point was there any mention of the billionaire philanthropist stealing Microsoft and profiting from the COVID-19 vaccine.
An article accompanying the video on the ABC News website, written by Ferguson and Myles Wearring, also carried no mention of Gates being asked such questions or ending the interview abruptly.
Conspiracy theories about Gates and COVID-19 have been shared on social media since the outbreak of the pandemic and have increased since vaccines became available. Logically, as well as several other fact-checking organizations, have repeatedly debunked this kind of misinformation.
Bill Gates was not cornered with COVID-19 questions during an interview. A clip from his interview with ABC News journalist Sarah Ferguson has been digitally altered and shared on social media with false claims. The Microsoft founder was not asked the questions seen in the viral video. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.