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Bill Gates jokes about why Microsoft retired Internet Explorer. ‘I guess we finally ran out of microchips’

June 16, 2022, 3:22 PM UTC

Bill Gates is now poking fun at the conspiracy theories that have followed him through the pandemic.

In a tweet on Wednesday, The Daily Show joked about Microsoft retiring its iconic web browser Internet Explorer, saying: “Wow, Bill Gates encourages everyone to get vaccinated, then a year later Internet Explorer dies. Coincidence???”

Responding to the tweet, Gates simply said: “I guess we finally ran out of microchips.”

The Daily Show’s joke was a reference to the conspiracy theories surrounding Gates and his involvement with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. The most prominent such theory makes false claims that Gates wants to use mass vaccination to implant microchips into people so that he can track them digitally.

Gates has always denied such accusations, which have circulated widely on social media, and has publicly complained about the impact of the far-reaching conspiracy theories.

In May, the billionaire Microsoft cofounder told the BBC that strangers yell at him in the street over the microchipping theory, and said it was “an awful thing” that was “making the toll of the pandemic even worse.”  

He later said it would be “tragic” if such conspiracy theories prevented people from getting vaccinated.

It came after he denounced conspiracy theories that targeted himself and top White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci as “stupid” and “evil.”

But Gates’ rebuttal of the allegations against him hasn’t been enough to extinguish the theories. In May 2020, a Yahoo/YouGov poll of 1,640 U.S. adults found that almost one in three people believed the debunked microchipping conspiracy theory to be true.

A separate YouGov poll found last July that one in five Americans believed the U.S. government was using COVID-19 vaccines to microchip the population—among those who refused the vaccine, the proportion who believed this theory rose to 51%.

Gates has long been a prominent advocate of vaccination, and has spent billions of dollars on delivering vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable populations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a close partner of Gavi, the international vaccine alliance.

Gates has said in the past that he tries to approach the conspiracy theories about him lightheartedly.

“I don’t know why they think I’m interested in knowing people’s locations—that one I still have to laugh at,” he told CNN in May, shortly after telling the BBC that he “still maintains a sense of humor about [the conspiracy theories].”

Last year, his daughter Jennifer joked after being vaccinated: “Sadly the vaccine did NOT implant my genius father into my brain—if only mRNA had that power…..!”

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