How wild theories linking 5G data to coronavirus started trending on social media

In times of crisis, conspiracy theories can spread as fast as a virus.

As the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip on a world which struggled to comprehend the enormity of the situation it was facing, darker forces were concocting their own narratives.

Scientists and researchers were working – and continue to work – around the clock for answers. But science is slow and methodical. So far-fetched explanations about how the outbreak started began filling the vacuum. Among these strange explanations is a theory that the recent rollout of 5G technology is to blame. But where did this theory begin, how did it develop and mutate and what can be done to stem the tide of fake news? We asked four experts who have all done extensive research in this area to examine these questions.

Marc Tuters, assistant professor of new media and digital culture at the University of Amsterdam, and Peter Knight, professor of American studies at the University of Manchester, examine the big questions and the history of conspiracy theories. Then Wasim Ahmed, lecturer in digital business at Newcastle University, and Joesph Downing, a nationalism research fellow at the London School of Economics, share the results of their new study into the origins of the 5G conspiracy…

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