We came across this image being shared on Telegram:
The image appears to be a tweet by a user named ‘Hatt Mancock’, and claims that “human trials” for “micro-chip implants smaller than a pin-head” will start in July. The tweet goes on to allege that this implant will “hold your booster status and other information to enable a fast and easy way to access things like shops and events”, ending off with the claim that it will be “powered by Microsoft technology”.
While the peculiar name of the tweet’s author already sets our factchecking ‘spidey-senses’ tingling, the image had garnered a few comments from Telegram users:
Of course, given the almost hyperbolic nature of their comments, could it be the case where they too caught on to something?
Regardless, when we traced the tweet back to its original source (@HattMancockMP), we see that the profile writeup clearly states that it’s a parody account of Matt Hancock.
For context, (the actual) Matt Hancock is a former British politician who served as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care from 2018 to 2021 and is a member of the Conservative Party. Back in July last year, Hancock had resigned as health secretary after he breached social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague.
Interestingly enough, the tweet claiming that human trials were starting in July was retweeted by Dr. Kelli Ward, the Arizona Republican Party’s Chairwoman:
In 2020, Ward shared a video from anti-vax organisation “America’s Frontline Doctors” who claim that hydroxychloroquine cures COVID-19. Twitter then suspended her activity temporarily “for spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
From the caption in her retweet, it seems like Ward does appear to believe wholesale what Hatt Mancock had claimed.
On the flipside, we see a parody account of Microsoft founder Bill Gates (@BillGatesmRNA, who describes himself to be a “vaccine profiteer and depopulation enthusiast”, probably as a nod to anti-vax conspiracy theorists) replying to Hatt Mancock’s tweet, stating that studies “show that the best protection comes around the 7th or 8th vaccine”.
Therefore, given the context of the tweet and who the author is (i.e. a clever troll), it is very clear that the claim that “Microsoft technology”-powered “human trials” for “micro-chip implants smaller than a pin-head” will start in July is satire.
However, it is still interesting to note that a Swedish startup had actually recently created a microchip that can be implanted into the skin, and would display details of one’s COVID vaccine passport when scanned.
As dystopian as the idea sounds, the reality is, according to managing director of the startup Hannes Sjoblad, that the implants “cannot transmit a signal by themselves. So they are basically passive. They sit there asleep […] They can never tell your location, they’re only activated when you touch them with your smartphone, so this means they cannot be used for tracking anyone’s location.”
This idea of willingly implanting microchips into oneself is also reportedly not a new thing to Swedes, with a report in 2018 revealing that “thousands of people were getting the rice grain-sized chips inserted just above their thumbs, making it easy for them to get scan themselves into homes, gyms, and offices or to pay for public transport by swiping their hands over digital readers”.