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Bill Gates: Big Tech companies “doing more now” to address “wild stories” about vaccines

Gates questioned whether such stories would affect mask wearing and willingness to take the vaccine.
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As the level of censorship on social media platforms continues to climb, investor and philanthropist Bill Gates has acknowledged that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are “doing more now” to stop the spread of what he describes as “wild stories” and conspiracies about the vaccine.

Gates made the comments during an interview with Yahoo Finance where he questioned whether “wild stories about the vaccine,” such as suggestions that the vaccine is “a conspiracy based on evil intent,” would impact mask wearing and willingness to the vaccine.

When asked about whether he or representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had been in touch with Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to mitigate the spread of these “crazy stories” and “misinformation,” Gates said:

“I think those companies are doing more now to do that. This is kind of a wild phenomena. We’ve always had some wariness of vaccines, about vaccines but not this idea of connecting them to a plot, you know, like microchipping people to track them, or you know, things that you, you know, even in a fiction story wouldn’t be all that believable.”

Gates’ comments follow both Facebook and YouTube making sweeping changes that restrict criticism and opposition to vaccines over the last couple of months.

Related: 🛡 How the term “misinformation” has been weaponized as an online censorship tool amid the coronavirus pandemic

Facebook recently banned all ads that discourage vaccines and has been removing groups and pages that spread what it deems to be “vaccine misinformation” from its search recommendations.

YouTube has taken an even stricter approach and banned any videos that go against the World Health Organization’s “consensus” on a future coronavirus vaccine.

While both companies are aggressively clamping down on vaccine criticism and opposition, positive content about vaccines is welcomed and Facebook even amplifies messages from the WHO that tell people to get vaccinated.

In previous statements, Gates and his wife Melinda have alluded to the need for social media platforms to do more to censor what they deem to be misinformation with Bill calling for Big Tech to use “smart solutions” that slow the spread of misinformation and Melinda warning that these platforms are due a “reckoning” for failing to remove enough misinformation.

Gates has even gone as far as suggesting governments should ban end-to-end encryption in private messaging apps to tackle misinformation.

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