During this unprecedented time, misinformation is spreading around the world even as the World Health Organization (WHO) does everything in its power to dispel such myths.
One of the myths being that 5G, the latest wireless mobile phone technology first widely deployed in 2019, is somehow linked to the current global pandemic.
Because of these baseless theories, mobile phone masts have been set on fire and engineers abused, with several videos of torched masts being shared on social media.
Three recent fires around the UK are being investigated as possible arsons. Including one in Liverpool, to which emergency services were called shortly before 11pm on Friday night, April 3. Police confirmed they were investigating the fire at a 5G mast in Aintree, and said fire crews managed to get the blaze under control quickly.
The previous day, police in Belfast appealed for information after a mast was damaged in an alleged arson attack, with online footage showing people shouting: ‘F*ck the 5G’ and ‘Viva la revolution’, as per Irish News.
Video footage of another telephone mast on fire in Birmingham also went viral this week, with many claiming it was targeted by anti-5G protesters. West Midlands Fire Service said the fire in Birmingham involved a 70ft tower on a telecommunications site, however, the service said the cause was yet to be identified.
Conspiracy nuts are reportedly setting 5G antenna phone masts on fire after a bizarre claim 5G "radiation" caused the deadly coronavirus spread pic.twitter.com/hbuILENHCT
— Juan Carlos Pedreira (@juancpedreira) April 3, 2020
As well as WHO confirming ‘no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies’ after ‘much research performed’, UK mobile network providers have also warned against the spread of misinformation.
In a statement on Twitter, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it was ‘aware of inaccurate information being shared online about 5G’, adding ‘there is absolutely no credible evidence of a link’ between 5G and the virus.
Trade body Mobile UK, which represents network providers, said the false rumours and theories were ‘concerning’, adding: ‘More worryingly some people are also abusing our key workers and making threats to damage infrastructure under the pretence of claims about 5G,’ BBC News reports.
Mobile UK continued:
This is not acceptable and only impacts on our ability as an industry to maintain the resilience and operational capacity of the networks to support mass home working and critical connectivity to the emergency services, vulnerable consumers and hospitals.
We are aware of inaccurate information being shared online about 5G. There is absolutely no credible evidence of a link between 5G and coronavirus
For COVID-19 advice:
Full Fact research https://t.co/QWYcc4bOEg
— DCMS (@DCMS) April 3, 2020
Experts have repeatedly stressed that 5G does not pose a health risk to humans, with fact-checking charity Full Fact stating ‘there is no evidence that 5G WiFi networks are linked’ to the health crisis.
The charity also points out that the virus has spread in many countries without any 5G coverage, such as Iran and Japan.
It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.