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A new Yahoo News and YouGov survey found that 44% of Republicans surveyed believe that Bill Gates will use the coronavirus vaccine to implant a microchip with a digital ID that would track the recipient's movements.
The survey also found that 19% of Democrats, 24% of Independents, and 50% of people who use Fox News as their main source of TV news also believe this debunked conspiracy theory.
Bill Gates, who has donated $300 million to coronavirus vaccine efforts, has become the target of online conspiracy theorists and conservative pundits over his coronavirus vaccination efforts.
A new survey by Yahoo News and YouGov has found that 44% of Republicans believe that Bill Gates will use the COVID-19 vaccination to implant a location-tracking microchip into the vaccine recipient, a conspiracy theory that has gained traction among fringe groups and conservative pundits.
The survey also found that 26% of Republicans do not believe the false microchip vaccine narrative, while 31% remained undecided on the topic. Half of the people surveyed who use Fox News as their main source of TV news also believe the debunked theory.
However, the poll also noted that 19% of Democrats, 24% of Independents, and 15% of people who use MSNBC as their source of TV news also believe the microchipping myth.
For the survey, YouGov conducted an online interview of a "nationally representative" group of 1,640 US adults who were a part of YouGov's opt-in panel between May 20 and 21. There is about a 3% margin of error.
An earlier Yahoo News and YouGov poll also found that only 55% of Americans surveyed would want the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available. The rest were either unsure (26%) or did not plan on receiving the vaccine (19%).
President Donald Trump has said that he is "very confident" that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by the end of the year, while experts have predicted that the vaccine development could take up to 12 to 18 months to prepare.
Bill Gates has recently become an online target for right-wing conspiracy theorists.
Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times
According to data by media analysis group Zignal Labs, over 16,000 posts on Facebook related to Bill Gates and coronavirus vaccine misinformation have been liked and commented almost 900,000 times, the New York Times reported in April.
However, Facebook isn't the only platform used to spread these conspiracies. On YouTube, the 10 most popular videos about Gate's purported microchipping vaccine have received over 5 million views, according to the same New York Times and Zignal Labs report.
These social media platforms have tried to take steps to curtail the anti-vaccination or coronavirus misinformation movement on its website. On May 11, Twitter announced that it would start labeling "misleading" coronavirus information. Last year, YouTube announced that it would demonetize videos on its platform that are pushing the anti-vaccine agenda.
YouTube and Facebook also recently took down the 26-minute "Plandemic" movie from its platforms. The debunked film featured discredited scientist Judy Mikotivs' claims that the US and vaccine companies created the coronavirus pandemic for profit.
However, the Bill Gates conspiracy theorists don't just live online in the form of bots and fringe theorists on social media. Public figures like Roger Stone and Laura Ingraham have also been pushing this same message.
—Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) April 7, 2020
Bill Gates has been a longtime supporter of vaccinations, and so far, Gates has donated $300 million to coronavirus vaccine efforts, according to Vox.
Read the original article on Business Insider