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But the founder of Microsoft won’t just send you $500,000 just for reaching out to him on social media, as a post now circulating on Facebook says.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post purports to come from "Bill Gate Foundation" (yes, the post misspelled his name) and features a photograph of Gates helping provide health care to a family that appears to be from Africa, a longtime mission of Gates’ (real) foundation.
The post repeats the misspelling in the text:
"MY NAME IS BILL GATE, I AM THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD
"Tell me one thing you need from me, and i will do it for you
"1. M0NEY - 5OOK
"5. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY ABROAD
"6. PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
"7. OTHERS SIGNIFY
"Use the (SEND MESSAGE) button below and send me a message today, and I will surprise you..
One tipoff that the post is fake is that it does not come from the genuine Gates Foundation Facebook page, which has a blue-checkmark verification. Social media experts will remind users to always be skeptical with posts claiming to be from celebrities but lack a verified status.
We also checked with a representative of the real foundation, and they confirmed to us via email that the post did not come from them. The foundation has struggled with scammers trading on their name for years.
The post does not come from Bill Gates’ foundation, so don’t expect any gifts to follow. We rate the post Pants on Fire.
Facebook post, Dec. 17, 2019
Gates Foundation Facebook page, accessed Dec. 20, 2019
Chronicle of Philanthropy, "Philanthropy 50," 2018 edition
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "Reporting Email Scams," accessed Dec. 20, 2019
Statement to PolitiFact from the press office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dec. 20, 2019
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