At least 20 telecom masts that enable the next generation of wireless communication were set on fire or otherwise vandalised in the United Kingdom since Thursday after false theories linking coronavirus to 5G networks began to circulate on social media.
According to The Guardian report, there have been noticeable clusters of attacks on masts around Liverpool and the West Midlands. While there’s no evidence to support the idea that 5G airwaves contribute to Covid-19’s spread, conspiracy theories continue to be widely shared on social media. A video of a telecom tower on fire was also circulated on a Birmingham community web page last week.
MobileUK, the industry group that unites the UK’s four main mobile networks, published an open letter to customers asking for their help in stopping the vandalism. The networks said, “there is no scientific evidence of any link between 5G and coronavirus. Fact.”
“We have experienced cases of vandals setting fire to mobile masts, disrupting critical infrastructure and spreading false information suggesting a connection between 5G and the Covid-19 pandemic,” the open letter said.
“Please help us to make this stop. If you witness abuse of our key workers please report it. If you see misinformation, please call it out. Your help will make a real difference.”
Meanwhile, representatives of social network companies will meet the government in the coming days to explain what they can do to stop the spread of baseless claims about 5G, although there is a limited amount that can be done to stop videos and messages spreading on messaging services such as WhatsApp.
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