Believing in coronavirus conspiracy theories, people set ablaze 5G towers in Liverpool, Birmingham and Melling in the United Kingdom, creating a law and order upheaval in these cities. In posts on various social platforms, conspiracy groups, misleadingly, draw a link between 5G networks and coronavirus based on the electromagnetic waves created by mobile network towers.
As absurd as the reason for such criminal activity is, it has rightly drawn attention to two things: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental health and the use of platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to spread misinformation.
These theories appear to have first emerged via Facebook posts in late January, around the same time the first cases were recorded in the US.- BBC
BBC’s report explains that the conspiracy theories hold 5G responsible for spread of COVID-19, claiming that the radio waves created by 5G networks destroy the immune system and are a method of transmission for the virus. Doctors have strongly rejected such theories. Associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, Dr Simon Clarke, calls the theories “complete rubbish” because the heat generated by such networks does not reach the level which is harmful for humans’ immune system.
Tweets shared by The Verge show that conspirators use Twitter and Facebook to spread misinformation on causes and transmission of coronavirus. BBC and The Verge quoted people complaining that Facebook removed groups which were spreading false information on 5G towers and enticed people to burn them down, only after their content went viral. This kind of inaction makes one question the platform’s ability and commitment to monitor and stop spread of misinformation and hateful content. Although Instagram and Facebook had recently updated their policy on misinformation, the social sites are still used by miscreants to arouse hate, mislead people by false claims of curing the virus, spewing theories to blame a race, nationality and objects for the pandemic, and much more.
Britain, like many other countries in the world, is not only fighting a battle with COVID-19 to save lives but also to ensure that people in quarantine are fed, and staying physically and mentally healthy. Therefore, this string of torching 5G towers has added to the country’s concerns.
“The culture secretary is to order social media companies to be more aggressive in their response to conspiracy theories linking 5G networks to the coronavirus pandemic”, BBC reports.
After through research and readings expert’s opinions on the matter, we can say that 5G networks are not the cause of coronavirus and have no part in its transmission. The only transmission is through human to human contact, thus, stay at home to stay healthy and maintain social distancing to keep others safe too.