Bill Gates has not bought Telegram

29 April 2021
What was claimed

Bill Gates has bought messaging service Telegram.

Our verdict

Neither Bill Gates nor the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have bought Telegram.

An Instagram post includes a screengrab of what appears to be a report from US TV network Fox News, claiming Bill Gates had bought the messaging app Telegram.

The text above the screengrab states: “Bill Gates has just purchased the Telegram app in order to retain control of what information people can share, think and research.” It includes a broken link to a YouTube video.

A caption below the image of a news reader states “600 MILLION DOLLARS DEAL BILL GATES BUYS TELEGRAM”. 

Mr Gates has not bought Telegram. We have contacted both Telegram and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to confirm this, but both parties have previously confirmed to fact checkers at Reuters and AFP that the Gates’ have no commercial interest or ownership of Telegram.

As those reports also state, Fox News has never reported such a story and the photo appears to be digitally manipulated. Fact checkers at AFP did a reverse image search of the image in the post, tracing it back to a 2020 Fox news report on an unrelated topic.

Pavel Durov, the founder and chief executive of Telegram, has previously insisted Telegram would not be sold.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because neither Bill Gates nor the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have bought Telegram.

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