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No evidence Bill Gates said he would ‘choose a lazy person to do a hard job’

(Disclaimer: Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made up 11% of Africa Check’s income in 2020.)

Several Facebook posts doing the rounds in South Africa show a photo of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, with a quote attributed to the philanthropist.

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it,” the quote reads.

But is this quote an accurate reflection of something Gates said? We investigated.

Gates_False

Quote nowhere to be found

The first thing we did was a search for part of the quote on Gates’s personal blog. This came up empty.

Next, we searched for the quote in Google Books. While there are a few books that make the same claim as the Facebook post, we could not find the quote in anything written by Gates.

A Google search for the quote also led to an article by Quote Investigator. It says a very similar quote has been “ascribed to Walter Chrysler who was famous for starting the Chrysler car company” and that both attributes are “probably not” true.

There is no verifiable evidence Bill Gates ever said he’d choose a “lazy person to do a hard job”.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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