Fact check: Satire page shares fake Twitter thread between Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein

The claim: Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Gates tweeted about Prince Philip’s death

On April 9, England’s Prince Philip died at age 99. In the wake of his death, unanswered questions about his son’s, Prince Andrew’s, relationship with deceased, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein are resurfacing on social media. One satirical meme claims to show a fake Twitter thread between Epstein and Bill Gates, both frequent conspiracy theory targets.

“RIP Prince Phillip,” reads the first tweet, purported to come from Epstein’s account.

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The thread then appears to show a reply from Epstein and another from Gates.

“How do I delete tweet,” reads the reply from Epstein.

“Bro delete this,” the image purports Gates replied.

Image shared by satirical meme page

The image was shared by a popular meme page that captioned it “Illuminati exposed”. 

The account, which frequently posts memes with false satirical content, was created by Reid Hailey, co-founder and CEO of Doing Things Media. The account’s Instagram bio reads, “The best meme page of 2021 ten years in a row… Originals watermarked.”

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The fake Twitter thread contains the account’s watermark, indicating it is one of these originals. 

Neither the Doing Things Media account nor Hailey immediately responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment. 

Jeffrey Epstein is dead and not on Twitter

Several details of this thread indicate it is not authentic, the most obvious of which is that Epstein died in 2019.

While some conspiracy theorists have promoted claims he is still alive, past fact checks have proven those claims to be false. In June 2020, USA TODAY spoke with Dr. Michael Baden, the pathologist who consulted on Epstein’s autopsy, and he confirmed Epstein died.

Jeffrey Epstein. March 2017 file photo from the New York State Sex Offender Registry. (Photo: AP)

As we’d expect given the satirical source, Twitter shows no record of such an exchange.

The Twitter handle in the image doesn’t actually belong to this Jeffrey Epstein — it’s used by another man from Arizona who shares the name. An archived screenshot of that account shows the handle @JeffreyEpstein has been in the Arizona Epstein’s control as far back as September 2016. 

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The Twitter handle and profile picture used for Gates’ purported tweet match that of his current Twitter account. But an advanced search of Gates’ Twitter profile and archived screenshots of the webpage show no record of this reply. 

Our rating: Satire

We rate an image that appears to show a recent Twitter thread between Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Gates SATIRE because it was posted by a popular meme page. Epstein died in 2019, and there is no record of this thread on Twitter.

Our fact-check sources:

  • USA TODAY, April 9, “Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99′
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 25, 2020, “Fact check: ‘Plandemic’ sequel makes false claims about Bill Gates”
  • @shitheadsteve, April 11, Instagram post
  • Reid Hailey, accessed April 14, LinkedIn profile
  • @shitheadsteve, accessed April 14, Instagram profile
  • @shitheadsteve, accessed April 14, Twitter bio
  • USA TODAY, Aug 10, 2019, “Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, awaiting sex trafficking charges, dead of apparent suicide”
  • USA TODAY, Oct. 23, 2020, “Fact check: Claim that Jeffrey Epstein is hiding at a ranch near Santa Fe is false”
  • USA TODAY, June 11, 2020, “Fact check: No, the same doctor did not autopsy JFK, MLK, Jeffrey Epstein and George Floyd”
  • @JeffreyEpstein, accessed April 14, Twitter profile
  • Wayback Machine, Sept. 1, 2016, @JeffreyEpstein Twitter profile
  • Bill Gates, accessed April 14, Twitter profile
  • Advanced Twitter search, accessed April 14, “Bro delete this (from:BillGates)”
  • Wayback Machine, accessed April 14, Bill Gates Twitter profile
  • USA TODAY, July 22, 2020, “Prince Andrew vs. the feds: Can he be forced to talk about Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell?”

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook. 

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