Bill Gates did not end interview when asked about vaccines; video was manipulated
American philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not abruptly end an interview after being asked about his advocacy of Covid-19 vaccines, contrary to a video viewed tens of thousands of times on social media. Several details indicate the footage has been manipulated using artificial intelligence. The dialogue does not feature in the original interview with Gates conducted by an Australian broadcaster.
The one-minute, 40-second video was shared here by a Facebook user in Malaysia on March 8, 2023.
"Mr Gates in your own words what Have you contributed...," reads the post's caption. "Bill Gates caught in a corner,"
In the video, a TV journalist seems to grill American billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates about his advocacy of Covid-19 vaccines: "How do you feel about it now, now that it's becoming more and more evident that the medication you were promoting whilst having invested in it yourself thus making billions of it ... has caused countless of injuries, side effects and deaths?"
In response, Gates seemingly gives a defensive reply and ends the interview abruptly, saying: "OK, that's enough. This interview is over."
The video was also shared alongside a similar claim in Malay on TikTok here, here, here and here, racking up more than 23,000 views.
Similar posts as also circulated in Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian.
However, the clip immediately raises suspicions as the voices of Gates and the journalist do not always coincide with the movement of their lips.
The logo "7/30" appears in the upper right corner of the screen. AFP conducted a search for the keywords “Bill Gates” and “7/30” and found a genuine interview between Gates and the same presenter, Sarah Ferguson, was posted by Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News on YouTube on January 31, 2023.
The video, which is nearly 13 minutes long, is titled: "Bill Gates complained to tech companies about 'laughable' COVID-19 conspiracy theories | 7.30".
"7.30" is ABC News' evening current affairs programme.
The footage of the interview was also published on ABC News' website on January 30, 2023.
A viewing of the entire genuine segment shows Gates and Ferguson did not say the purported words as shown in the misleading video.
In the misleading footage, Ferguson supposedly starts the interview by asking: "So Mr Gates, in your own words, what have you contributed to the world?"
Gates purportedly responds that he created "the world's most popular computer operating system", to which she replies: "Of course, but as we all know, it wasn't actually you who created it."
Neither this dialogue nor any of the subsequent conversation appears in the ABC interview, including the questioning on Covid vaccines.
Most of the real exchange between Gates and Ferguson revolves around the role Australia can play in tackling climate change, the spread of false content on social media, and funding Gates has contributed to research on vaccines and artificial intelligence.
At the end of the programme, the pair say goodbye cordially, unlike the conclusion of the misleading video.
The social media clip appears to have been created using artificial intelligence, Bruno Sartori, journalist and expert on deepfakes, told AFP.
Such videos modify faces and voices, making people appear to say things they did not.
Another version of the video was posted to TikTok on March 8, 2023, with the caption: "How dangerous AI can be" and the hashtags #artificialintelligence and #ai.
"It is fake content, but totally realistic, like a person's voice and face," Sartori said.
Several aspects of the footage are key giveaways that it is fake, he added. "The low quality, to hide imperfections, and the lip movements are not properly synchronised with the lines in certain passages."
AFP Fact Check has also debunked other false and misleading claims about Gates, as well as false claims made using artificial intelligence here and here.
April 5, 2023 This article has been updated to remove a link in the seventh paragraph.