False Conspiracy theories of risks associated with the next-generation mobile technology are spreading like wildfire.
Experts point to a perfect storm of conditions that have helped the theory.
While the country follows the ‘stay at home’ advice from the government in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, 5G towers are on the rise. Medics warn the UK is still in a ‘dangerous phase
It is quite common for 5G towers to be erected near 3G or 4G masts. Like this one in Garston Watford.
A popular claim that Wuhan was the first city in the world to receive 5G took hold.
The conspiracy has taken off via social media groups mainly on facebook.
There have been over 30 attacks on masts mainly in Liverpool and the West Midlands. But many of the masts that have been vandalised were just 3G and 4G equipment.
Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove said the theories spreading from various social media groups and profiles were ‘just nonsense, dangerous nonsense as well.’
The world health organisation has branded the spread of disinformation about COVID-19 on social media platforms as an ‘infodemic’.
Facebook has followed YouTube in removing a video of conspiracy theorist David Icke falsely linked coronavirus and 5G.
Icke made a number of claims including that a coronavirus vaccine, once developed, would include “nanotechnology microchips” which would allow humans to be controlled.
Mr Dowden said: ‘You are absolutely right, these are lunatic conspiracy theories and no sensible person would give them a moment’s thought.’
‘Clearly that station is regulated by Ofcom and I would be expecting Ofcom to take appropriate action.
What is 5G
Ofcom is working with the Government and industry to help the UK become a world leader in 5G.
5G is the new generation of wireless technology. It follows previous generations of mobile technology such as 3G, which led to the launch of smartphones, and 4G, which enabled faster browsing, allowing us to do things like watching videos on the move.
All four major UK mobile networks have launched 5G services. Technology firms are also rolling out 5G-ready devices. 5G is much faster than previous generations of wireless technology. But it’s not just about speed. 5G also offers greater capacity, allowing thousands of devices in a small area to be connected at the same time.
In a statement, they said: “Since late January, we’ve applied this policy to misinformation about COVID-19 which could contribute to real-world harm.
“This includes posts that make false claims about cures, treatments, the availability of essential services or the location and severity of the outbreak.
A YouTube spokesperson said: “We’re committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time, including raising authoritative content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation and showing information panels, using NHS and WHO data, to help combat misinformation.
“We have clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us.
“Now any content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, as described by the WHO and local health authorities is in violation of YouTube policies. This includes conspiracy theories which claim that the symptoms are caused by 5G.”