ConspiraciesThe High Cost of Conspiracy Theories

Published 13 July 2020

Conspiracy theories have been rampant on the Internet since the Corona crisis began. One of the most curious conspiracy theories involves Bill Gates: He wants to implant microchips into people with the help of vaccinations and thus control humanity, according to many online forums. Gustav Theile writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [in German] that surveys repeatedly show that these conspiracies are not a niche phenomenon. According to a Yougov survey, 44 percent of Republicans in the United States believe in the Gates microchip conspiracy. One in two Britons, according to a study by Oxford University, tends towards conspiracy theories. In Germany, the belief in the Gates conspiracy seems to have more followers than the fear that the new 5G mobile communications standard is the cause of the coronavirus epidemic. Web searches for both conspiracy theories shot up in April and May, but overall, Googling for 5G was only about half as often as for Bill Gates. Why conspiracies, which are supposed to be top secret, should be unmasked by simply Googling is, of course, not clear.