- A baseless, already-debunked rumor linking the novel coronavirus and 5G broadband technology is spreading across the UK and appears to have caused physical damage this week.
- A cellphone mast in Birmingham, England, is believed to have been set ablaze by anti-5G arsonists, and telecommunications engineers have reportedly been abused in the street by people who believe in the theory.
- Facebook has already removed one group where users were being encouraged to send in footage of them destroying mobile phone apparatus, The Guardian reported.
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A baseless conspiracy theory linking the novel coronavirus to 5G broadband technology is spreading across the UK, has apparently caused physical damage this week.
A 70-foot cellphone mast in Birmingham, England, went up in flames this week and is reportedly being blamed on people who allegedly believe in the bogus rumor, The Guardian reported.
EE, the network operator, told the newspaper that it is still investigating the fire but that it “looks likely at this time” to be the work of arsonists.
“To deliberately take away mobile connectivity at a time when people need it more than ever to stay connected to each other, is a reckless, harmful and dangerous thing to do,” the company said, according to The Guardian.
Another fire was found by a 5G phone tower near Liverpool, England, late Friday night, the Liverpool Echo reported.
The cause of the fire is not clear, but hours earlier, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson had condemned the “bizarre” conspiracy theories that 5G was a plot to spread the coronavirus, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Anderson had said: “I’m amazed that there are people out there who saying things like this — that COVID-19 is somehow linked to 5G. It’s bizarre.”
Elsewhere in England, telecommunications engineers are reportedly facing verbal abuse and threats of violence from people who believe in the spurious theory.
According to the MailOnline, an unidentified woman approached two workers laying cable in a London street, and blamed them for killing families.
“We’re all going to be in hospital on breathing apparatus. It’s because of this wire here,” she said, according to the news site.
“How do you feel? Do you have children? Do you have parents? How do you feel? When they turn that switch on, you can say ‘bye bye mama,” she reportedly said. “Are you content to continue doing that job? Are you paid enough to kill her?”
The engineers were employed by Community Fibre and do not use 5G technology, according to the company.
Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact-checking nonprofit, has already debunked the myth that there is any link between the 5G network in Wuhan, where the coronavirus broke out, and the disease.
“The main implication of the claim — that 5G can impact immune systems — is totally unfounded. There is no evidence linking the new coronavirus to 5G,” Full Fact said.
Nonetheless, the rumors have spread rapidly on social media. According to The Guardian, Facebook has already removed one group where users were being encouraged to send in footage of them destroying mobile phone apparatus.
An online petition claiming that it was dangerous to live close to a 5G mast because it would enhance the chance of COVID-19 infection was shared by Amanda Holden, a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent,” according to The Guardian. The post was later taken down.
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