Facebook has deleted two popular groups promoting baseless conspiracy theories linking 5G towers to the coronavirus outbreak, however dozens of similar groups remain active.
The “Stop 5G UK” and “Destroy 5G Save Our Children” pages, which together had more than 62,000 members, were removed following admin violations relating to Facebook’s policies about publicising crime.
Other Facebook groups with tens of thousands of members continue to spread misinformation about 5G and coronavirus across the social network, which counts more than 2 billion users around the world.
Members of the active groups praised recent arson attacks on phone masts and suggested armed uprisings could disrupt the roll-out of the next-generation mobile technology.
Theories linking 5G to health risks have been consistently disproved and have been described by scientists as “utter rubbish”.
The deleted groups were highlighted by the Hope Not Hate advocacy group, who noted in a blog post that the 5G coronavirus conspiracy is often used within these groups to push other dangerous and hateful conspiracies.
“People seeking out information on the 5G controversy in Facebook groups will soon find themselves exposed to any number of alternative conspiracy theories, many only tangentially related to 5G,” the post stated. “Many of these theories are implicitly or explicitly anti-semitic, with the roll-out of 5G and many other alleged crimes being laid at the feet of prominent Jewish individuals or organisations.”
Misinformation within the groups also mocks health guidelines designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that washing hands and social distancing would not prevent the transmission of the disease.
Some group members claim that coronavirus is caused by radiation emitted from 5G towers, while other more extreme conspiracy theorists claim that the recent surge in intensive care admissions is a result of 5G-related illnesses rather than Covid-19.
A Facebook spokesperson did not address the groups specifically but said that it is following a policy implemented in 2019 to remove harmful misinformation that could result in physical harm.
The tech giant’s definition of physical harm is based on guidance from health authorities and includes false claims which could increase the likelihood of getting or spreading the virus, including the belief that people are dying from 5G radiation poisoning rather than coronavirus.
Despite this policy, posts promoting this idea continue to circulate in 5G conspiracy groups.
One widely-shared post states: “I don’t know if you are aware of it. But nobody, no doctor, no hospital has ever seen coronavirus under a microscope… What is being called a coronavirus today, is 5G radiation, that is in the air that we breathe in.”
The 900-word post, which was posted to the ‘5G & Microwave Radiation’ Facebook group on 14 April, goes on to claim that 5G kills elderly people, as “these people don’t usually use telephones as much” and therefore have not built up a “tolerance” to the radiatz
Facebook said it would investigate the groups and take action if necessary.
“We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms and connect people to accurate information about coronavirus,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
“Under our existing policies against harmful misinformation, we are starting to remove false claims which link Covid-19 to 5G technology and could lead to physical harm.”MORE ABOUTCORONAVIRUS | 5G | FACEBOOKShow 83 comments