The con artists profiting from 5G conspiracy theories

When people are scared of something, there will always be a snake oil salesman on hand, and now there are products emerging to protect consumers from the dastardly 5G airwaves.

Despite there being mountains of evidence to the contrary, 5G conspiracy theories are continuing to influence behaviour today. According to Mobile UK, the association representing UK mobile operators, there have been 87 incidents of 4G/5G towers being vandalised, and more than 200 engineers who have been verbally or physically abused. This is the consequence.

And of course, when there is hysteria, confusion and fear, there will be the con artists who look to profit.

One company which has attracted attention this week is 5GBioShield. For a mere £283 you can purchase a USB stick with proprietary holographic nano-layer technology which will create a quantum biological shield around you and/or your home.

From the minds of Ilija Lakicevic and Jacques Bauer, two individuals who have not worked for reputable employers for years, the product supposedly works to balance the imbalanced electric oscillations arising from all electric fog induced by all devices. If that sounds remarkable, it might be a lot easier than some might have expected.

According to PenTestPartners, the product is nothing more than a standard 128GB USB memory stick with a sticker on it. Having broken down the product, there is literally nothing to distinguish it from a normal £5 memory stick, aside from a 1p sticker.

When asked by Telecoms.com, 5GBioShield did not respond to requests for additional information to support the claims such as research papers or a technology patent.

This is one company which has been attracting mainstream media attention, but anyone could do a quick Google and realise there are hundreds of companies out there looking to deceive the general public.

EMF Protection is one company which offers window protections, bed canopies and EMF radiation-protection paint. It is not entirely clear how the products actually work from consulting the website, and once again EMF Protection Founder Glynn Hughes responded but was less than forthcoming with an explanation. However, there is an explanation for the paint.

Through a combination of carbon fibre and graphite particles, the paint is 99.99% effective at not only blocking 5G, but also 2G, 3G, 4G and wifi. On top of all this protection, it is easy to apply, and is water based.

If you do have an interest in purchasing the paint, never forget, it must be earthed!

And there are hundreds of these con artists, relying on fancy words with no scientific substance out there.

EMF Home Harmony offers an EMF Protection Bracelet for £25 which looks exactly the same as every other rubber charity wrist band, but is powered by Orgone, a term coined by Wilhelm Reich for life force energy. DefenderShield provides shields and cases for devices to absorb and block EMF emissions.

A quick search on Amazon also brought up more than 2,000 results ranging from phone cases, diffusers to cleanse the air, immunity boosting pills and Electromagnetic Field Radiation Detector. There is no shortage of products to protect us from the dishonourable spectrum.

There are of course numerous reasons these products exist, and they still would without the conspiracy theories linking 5G spectrum to the creation and transmission of COVID-19, but this has heightened the issue.

But why do people believe in these products? One reason might simply be that the explanations are more accessible.

There is of course mountains of evidence to dispute the claims made by these companies, but it is often in the form of scientific papers or industry jargon, little of which is understood by the general public. The information being put forward by the con artists might be incorrect, but it is accessible; the general public can understand the language therefore it is embedded in the mind more successfully than the correct information.

Some in the industry are refusing to address these claims because of the absurdity. Yes, these conspiracy theories are ridiculous, but they are believed by at least a small proportion of society who are inflicting damage to infrastructure and engineers. The consequence is real, irrelevant as to whether the industry wants to address it or not.

So what should be done? The general public needs to be engaged, educated and taken on the same journey as those in the industry. And most importantly, the answers need to be explained in terms which are accessible.


Telecoms.com Daily Poll:

Is the industry doing enough to combat the 5G conspiracy theories?

Loading ... Loading ...

5G conspiracy theories; what they are, why they are wrong and what can be done

While the majority of the general public might be immune to the absurdity of conspiracy theories linking 5G to COVID-19, there are enough believers to burn down infrastructure.

Here, we are having a look at the conspiracy theories, past and present, which have plagued the 5G era and attempted to provide some information to disprove the nonsense.

This is not a conclusive list of all the 5G conspiracy theories, so feel free to point out any we have missed in the comments section.

5G is a hazard to your health

This is a claim which has been bouncing around the industry for years prior to the 5G technology even being validated in lab trials. It dates back to the 90s, when mobile phone usage was incredibly limited, with critics claiming the 2G airwaves could in fact cause cancer.

Although the vast majority of the world now dismisses these rumours, the emergence of 5G seems to have encouraged the rebirth of these health claims. Finding an original source is very difficult, but there are plenty of posts which appear on social media which seem to fan the flames of these fanatics.

A picture of an engineer climbing a telecoms mast in a hazmat suit was used as justification for these claims, though it was clear the individual was using hazardous chemicals to clean the equipment. These illusions of proof help paint the picture, as the blind following the blind tend to ignore the thousands of images of healthy engineers installing or repairing telecoms equipment without such protective equipment on.

The idea that the airwaves used in mobile communications can be a detriment to your health is focused on the idea of ionising and non-ionising radiation. Telecoms equipment does emit radiation, but so does most electrical equipment. The point which seems to get lost is this Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) is not powerful enough to cause damage to humans.

The following statement is taken from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website:

There are two general kinds of electromagnetic radiation: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is powerful enough to knock electrons out of their orbit around an atom. This process is called ionization and can be damaging to a body’s cells. Non-ionizing radiation has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around and cause them to vibrate, which makes the atom heat up, but not enough to remove the electrons from the atoms.

The damage which can be done to the human body generally depends on how far up the spectrum the airwaves being used are, or whether it is high- or low-energy. A high-tension power line can create a much higher energy electromagnetic field that is still low in frequency, therefore there are safeguards around these sites, while medical equipment using x-rays make use of much higher frequencies so should also be regarded as dangerous.

However, numerous public health authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Germany-based scientific body in charge of setting limits on exposure to radiation, have both stated on numerous occasions the airwaves used by mobile communications is not harmful to health.

5G is the cause of COVID-19

In March, Dr Thomas Cowan, a US doctor on disciplinary probation, claimed 5G poisoned cells in the body forcing them to excrete waste which eventually became known as COVID-19.

The video, which went viral and was reposted by several celebrities, has been disproven by several scientists who questioned the validity of the evidence. It has since been removed by YouTube.

“Viruses are not just debris,” Jason Kindrachuk, a virologist and Canada research chair in emerging viruses at the University of Manitoba, said in an interview with CBC. “Viruses don’t just get created as a way to deal with poison.”

Scientists have been able to recreate the virus in a lab, proving it is not simply a secretion from human cells, while there were numerous other claims in the Cowan video which did not add up. Cowan suggests the emergence of the Spanish Flu (1918) coincided with the launch of commercial radio services (1920), while he also claims the fact Wuhan is ground-zero for COVID-19 and the first city to have 5G (it wasn’t) was also proof of the link.

This is fantasy, and while Cowan might present himself as an expert, a deeper dive into his history presents a very murky character being investigated by the Medical Board of California for using unlicensed drugs, an author of books promoting ideas contrary to conventional medical procedures and a champion of the anti-vaccination movement.

5G can kill birds and plant life

This is a slightly unusual claim and appears to be more coincidence that anything else.

In the Hague during October 2018, the Netherlands, 297 birds were found dead which was attributed to the presence of 5G trials in the area. Similarly, in North Wales in December 2019, 225 birds were found dead. In both of these examples, it was decided 5G was the root cause of the deaths.

After examination in the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam and Wageningen University, it was determined the cause of death was some form of collision. Perhaps a bird of prey was present, causing confusion in the flock (which can swell to the size of thousands of birds) and subsequently mid-air collisions occurred.

In all honesty, there is no single reason for the mass death of these birds, however these incidents have been going on long before the introduction of 5G and even mobile communications. For example, residents of Beebe in the US state of Arkansas awoke on January 1, 2020, to 500 dead blackbirds strewn across lawns and roads, despite there not being a 5G antenna for hundreds of miles. Going back even further, it was reported in 1904 750,000 migrating Lapland Longspurs were found dead in Worthington, Minnesota.

What is worth noting is that 5G is not the root cause. The incidents have predated the introduction of mobile communications and autopsies on the dead birds recently have ruled out any connection between 5G, with some even pointing out trials were not taking place in the Hague when the starlings were found.

This is perhaps why conspiracy theories have persevered in certain areas. Without a single, proven cause of such phenomenon, the absurd claims will run wild. In a scientific void, some minds become susceptible to the fantastical.

Another wildlife claim is that 5G kills trees and other plant life.

After an image of felled trees in the Serbian town of Aleksinac was shared online, conspiracy theorists claimed the reason was to cover up the fact that the new 5G antenna would cause them to die eventually. By planting new trees, the Government would be able to cover up the damage which would have been done to the existing wildlife.

There is of course zero scientific evidence to suggest 5G impacts plant life, and an explanation for the Serbia incident has been sourced. According to Dalibor Markovic, a local politician, the aim was to rotten linden trees with new maple trees as part of reconstruction works on the street.

5G acts as an accelerator for the coronavirus

This is another which is linked to the current pandemic, and perhaps one of the conspiracy theories which has gained the most significant traction in recent days.

As with many conspiracy theories, it is very difficult to trace the pseudoscience back to its origin, and this claim is a perfect example. Pre-dating the coronavirus outbreak, the idea that 5G supresses the immune system is a popular one for critics and has been given a new life in conjunction with the spread of COVID-19.

The theory states that radiation from mobile communications is influencing the human body on a molecular level (suggesting it is ionising radiation), but also inhibiting the immune system. The spread of the coronavirus around the world is thanks to the presence of 5G technology and it preventing the body from fighting the virus.

As mentioned previously, and emphasised here by the Cornell Alliance for Science, there is no evidence linking 5G technology to the COVID-19 coronavirus. If a hotspot emerges in one area which happens to have 5G antenna, it is coincidental.

Unfortunately, people have been believing the conspiracy theory. A video from Hong Kong has been circulating social media, suggesting the masses are revolting against 5G, actually turns out to be from the protests which took place last summer, but this appears to be inspiration for the criminals who are vandalising telecoms masts in various places around the world.

What is worth noting is this is another example of why conspiracy theories work. In pursing an explanation, some individuals stop when one story seemingly answers all the questions. In not absorbing all of the information, these individuals are relying on incomplete data to make a conclusion.

For example, the conspiracy theorists are correct in suggesting both the coronavirus and 5G antenna are in places such as Wuhan (the origin of COVID-19), London and Paris, but fail to include Iran or Ecuador in their arguments. These are countries which have fallen victim to the pandemic, but do not have 5G connectivity.

Not only is there a lack of scientific evidence to support the conspiracy theory, when looking at all the data, the claim is baseless.

The lockdown is a government cover-up

This is an interesting one which even the most hardened of conspiracy theorists are unable to come to grips with; COVID-19 is a government conspiracy (although we’re not sure which one they are referring to) to enforce societal lockdown, which will allow the installation of 5G antenna en masse without the general public being aware. By doing it in secret, the general public will not be able to comment, object or protest until it is too late.

This one is truly remarkable.

Around the country there are of course councils who have been forced to abandon 5G plans due to objections from the community. For example, the Parish of Glastonbury prevented the deployment of 5G antenna for the Glastonbury Festival in 2019 thanks to opposition to the technology.

“To all those people who have paid a small fortune to go to Glastonbury, then you have effectively paid to be a human guinea pig,” said local conspiracy theorist Ian Crane. Conspiracy theorists believed the festival was being used as a scaled experiment for 5G, and while we suspect the council did not believe this story, there was enough of a protest to prevent it giving approval.

Some have suggested 5G is a military grade weapon, while other suggest the health consequences are well-known to governments, hence the need to roll it out during a lockdown. The Parish of Glastonbury is not the only local authority to oppose the deployment of 5G equipment, hence the fuel for this conspiracy theory.

The coronavirus is of course real, and lockdowns are a necessary inconvenience to prevent further transmission of COVID-19, though the presence of telecoms engineers on the streets is also crucial.

These individuals are not secretly installing 5G antenna, as some conspiracy theorists would have you believe, but are performing necessarily upgrades to improve the resilience and reliability of existing infrastructure. With internet traffic surging thanks to lockdown protocols, existing networks may come under strain as they were not designed with these scenarios in mind. It is not an exciting explanation, but it is a very logical one.

Virus’ can communicate through the radio airwaves

In 2011, several scientists authored a paper which suggested bacteria could produce electromagnetic signals to communicate with each other. Although the science in this paper is still disputed today, it has formed the foundation of the argument that the virus is able to communicate thanks to 5G.

Firstly, what is worth noting is that this paper has not been accepted by the academic community. Secondly, viruses are very different to the bacteria being discussed in this paper. And finally, COVID-19 is spreading in places where 5G is not present.

This is one of the more remarkable conspiracy theories present currently, but like every other one, the foundations of the story can be disproven or are not relatable.

Why do conspiracy theories spread?

According to The Conspiracy Theory Handbook, written by Stephan Lewandowsky of Bristol University and John Cook of George Mason University, there are several reasons why conspiracy theories can be believed.

  1. A feeling of powerlessness
  2. Coping with a threat
  3. Explaining unlikely events
  4. Disputing mainstream politics

People who feel powerless or vulnerable are more likely to believe and spread conspiracy theories, while they can act as a coping mechanism to explain highly unlikely events, or somewhere for blame to be directed when dealing with threatening situations. Sometimes people need someone to blame, dislike the ordinary or cannot accept the prospect of an unknown. In the absence of knowledge, the imagination prospers.

Lewandowsky and Cook detail the danger of conspiracy theories, but also the circular nature of the paranoid mind. If an aspect of the theory is disproven by evidence, this may well prove the existence of a greater conspiracy theory overarching the smaller tale. It is incredibly difficult to argue against the logic of an individual who is not open to absorbing all the relevant information or accepting that some conclusions might be incorrect.

The mind of a conspiracy theorist should be considered the same as a set of dominoes; if one is pushed, it impacts something else which leads to another scenario. You can’t knock over one theory without adding energy to another.

If you are suspicious a story might be an unvalidated conspiracy theory (though for many it doesn’t take much analysis), the Handbook suggests there might be several clues:

  • Contradiction: conspiracy theories often have contradictory claims when you dig into the details
  • Overriding suspicion: do you have to suspend belief in numerous other truths to make the narrative work
  • Nefarious intent: what is the end game or objective?
  • Something must be wrong: many conspiracy theorists have an ultimate belief that something is wrong with society
  • Persecuted victim: the conspiracy theorist is a hero for the people, fighting against the machine which is attempting to destroy the theorist
  • Immune to evidence: contrary science is claimed to be incorrect
  • Re-interpreting randomness: a belief that nothing happens by accident

In the majority of cases, a conspiracy theory can be spotted a mile away, but there are always a few which can seem plausible. And while it can be entertaining to ponder the extravagance of some, it is always worth remembering conspiracy theories are dangerous.

Conspiracy theories plant the seed of doubt, whether it is in science or authority. Today, society should be listening to scientists about the dangers of COVID-19 and how to best combat the pandemic, but there are still some who are wandering into fields and setting fire to the very communications infrastructure used by the emergency services. That could be the difference between life and death for someone’s aunt or grandfather.

What to do to combat conspiracy theories?

This is simple; education.

Some believe the conspiracy theories because they are that way inclined, but others will believe because it is the only explanation available at the time. Fictional detective Sherlock Holmes said; ‘when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth’, which is applicable here.

The telecoms industry has thrust 5G onto society without explaining what it is, why it is different, how it works or why the world needs it. Some might question why money is being spent on 5G when 4G works today, which is a very valid question in the absence of telcos actually explaining user and network trends.

Few consumers will actually know video is rapidly increasing network traffic, which will eventually strain networks and user experience, therefore 5G deployments are a proactive effort to get ahead of the curve. This is about ensuring experience is maintained irrelevant to the increasing tsunami of data which is building.

Perhaps there is an assumption that the consumer does not want to know? Like a car, as long as it does the required job, does anyone care about the intricacies of the engine? But mobile communications is different as it is penetrating into so many different aspects of our lives, including some very sensitive areas such as healthcare and finance.

There are two ways to debunk conspiracy theories; facts and logic. In the case of 5G, the science needs to be presented to demonstrate why these conspiracy theories are nonsense, but to ensure there is not a resurgence, the drivers for 5G need to also be explained. When the general public understand the objectives behind 5G are not nefarious, the conspiracy theories will seem as absurd to everyone as they do to industry insiders.

Ofcom tells off ITV and ESTV over 5G conspiracy theory coverage

Ofcom has concluded its investigations into ITV and ESTV, after both TV stations were seemingly fanning the flames of the conspiracy theories which have linked 5G to the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the tsunami of statements claiming there is no valid link between the presence of 5G antenna and the spread of COVID-19, there are still those deluded enough to believe the conspiracy theories. The outcome has been vandalism to telecoms infrastructure, the very networks used by the emergency services, as well as verbal and physical abuse to field staff, the individuals who are attempting to improve resilience and reliability of communications networks.

The situation has of course not been helped by TV stations seemingly adding credibility to the idiocy or ITV Presenter Eamonn Holmes casting doubt on the credibility of other news sources who have been denying the validity of the conspiracy theory.

Starting with the ITV debacle, Ofcom has ruled Holmes’ statement had the potential to cause harm because it could have undermined people’s trust in the views being expressed by the authorities.

“In assessing the potential degree of harm, we took into account that Eamonn Holmes did also state that ‘No-one should attack or damage’ mobile phone masts,” the Ofcom statement reads. “However, we considered that his statement overall potentially risked fuelling a volatile situation surrounding the 5G claims.”

The show in question took place on April 13, with Ofcom receiving 755 complaints. During one segment, Holmes was discussing the conspiracy theories with the programme’s Consumer Editor, Alice Beer, when he stated:

The only thing I would say, I totally agree with everything you are saying but what I don’t accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they do not know it’s not true. No-one should attack or damage or do anything like that. But it is very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative. That’s all I would say as someone with an enquiring mind.

David Icke, the conspiracy theorist behind much of the absurdity, retweeted an edited response which seemed to demonstrate Holmes was in support of his messages.

Ofcom has issued guidance to ITV to ensure content does not enflame the current situation or add credibility to misinformation. This is effectively what Holmes did in his egotistical attempt to be philosophical.

Moving onto ESTV, Ofcom has taken a much more hardened approach. After an interview with David Icke on its local television channel London Live, the regulator received 48 complaints after the conspiracy theories went completely unchallenged by host Brian Rose.

Ofcom has concluded the show has the potential to cause considerable harm, as ESTV did not do enough to present Icke’s thoughts as theories. The ruling states:

Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting views which diverge from or challenge official authorities on public health information, but it was the responsibility of ESTV to ensure viewers were adequately protected from potential harm by, for example, challenging those views and placing them in context. Ofcom’s Decision is therefore that the Licensee did not adequately protect viewers from potential harm, in breach of Rule 2.1, and we considered this breach to be serious.

The Sanction Panel will now consider the evidence to hand out an appropriate punishment.

While there is a risk to free speech principles, a line has to be drawn somewhere. David Icke’s theories about the origin and transmission of COVID-19 are not based on science and pose a risk to society. ESTV should be encouraged to explore such ideas where necessary, but appropriate context should be placed around the discussion. This is where the interviewer Brian Rose failed.

Rose simply sat in his seat and let Icke ramble. Whereas many experienced and respected interviewers might have challenged the pseudoscience and absurdity of the historical context, Rose just allowed the preposterous tale to be told. As such, credibility was offered to the story.

The conspiracy theories should of course be discussed, but balance needs to be offered.

  • Ofcom has recently published test results demonstrating the UK 5G networks continue to operate well within internationally accepted safety levels
  • The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Germany-based scientific body in charge of setting limits on exposure to radiation, has said 5G poses no more of a threat than other mobile technologies
  • The World Health Organization has denied any link between the spread of coronavirus and 5G
  • Public Health England has pointed out the frequency bands being used by 5G applications have been in use before, for years prior to the COVID-19 outbreak

There is no shortage of experts to decry the link between 5G and COVID-19, but this was not mentioned in the ESTV interview. Little to no balance was offered as the interviewer did an impression of a vase of flowers sat opposite Icke.

Ofcom fails to clear up the myths around 5G and the coronavirus

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has published an announcement that claims to rebut the conspiracy theories regarding 5G and coronavirus, but barely mentions them.

The piece, entitled ‘Clearing up the myths around 5G and the coronavirus’, starts promisingly. “There is a conspiracy theory that claims 5G is connected to the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19),” it commences. “This is wrong. There is no scientific basis or credible evidence for these claims.” But then it goes on to note that burning down phone masts can reduce connectivity and then address the persistent ‘does 5G give you cancer?’ question.

Now, those two topics are definitely important, but they don’t in any way address the mistaken belief that 5G is in some way contributing to the spread of coronavirus. The very simple fact is that physical particles cannot be transmitted over electromagnetic waves. That piece of fundamental education should be front and centre of any fact checking campaign, and yet Ofcom chose not to mention that at all.

If, for whatever reason, Ofcom was disinclined to consult scientific experts in the preparation of its announcement, it could at least have linked to other sources that put a bit more effort into debunking the silliness. An obvious choice would have been Full Fact, which calls itself the UK’s independent fact checking charity, and seems as impartial as any.

At the end of March Full Fact addressed a story published by the Daily Star, originally headlined ‘Fears 5G wifi networks could be acting as ‘accelerator’ for disease’. While it doesn’t even attempt to address the sloppy conflation of cellular and wifi networks, it does have a fairly comprehensive look at a couple of specific allegations.

The first is that radio waves may in some way inhibit the immune system, thus increasing the chance of infection. This is easily addressed by the broader topic concerning the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human body. Here, it must be said, the Ofcom piece does add some value, but reproducing the good old electromagnetic spectrum diagram, stressing that only ionizing radiation penetrates cells and that’s at the other end of the spectrum from radio waves.

The other physiological matter Ofcom addresses is the fact that longer wavelength radiation does transfer heat – hence microwave ovens and infrared bulbs. Nobody wants their brain cooked while they’re on a call, so this matter has been researched extensively, resulting in the recent release of guidelines to ensure that doesn’t happen. The most useful part of the Ofcom announcement reveals its recent studies have found UK 5G base stations operate at a tiny fraction of the maximum levels stipulated by the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection.

The second claim addressed by the Full Fact rebuttal is just downright amusing, that viruses talk to each other when making decisions about infecting a host. This paints a picture of viruses perched, en masse, on a phone tower, surveying the unwitting local population and then having a vote about which poor sod to infect today.

The only evidence presented for this entertaining theory is a single study from eight years ago that reckoned E Coli bacteria might emit electromagnetic radiation. It concluded “There is considerable work required to extract the bioinformation contained in these electromagnetic signals,” but none of the researchers seem to have considered that work worth doing in the subsequent years. Bacteria, or course, are not viruses.

Another good effort at exposing some of the crazy talk flying around the internet, in spite of feeble attempts at censorship, was recently published by Science Alert. It, too, addresses the nature of electromagnetic radiation and how it can’t transmit physical particles. Also mentioned is the likelihood that fear and general distrust of government are key factors in persuading people to cling to crackpot theories such as these.

That phenomenon was recently explored in a piece entitled ‘Conspiracies in the time of Coronavirus,’ which revealed that even supposedly ‘trusted’ sources can be seduced by the dark side at times like this. “Human beings, confronted with an infodemic as much as a pandemic, try to sort information of extremely varied quality into categories to ‘make sense’ of their situation, concludes the piece. “Conspiracy theories have a pleasant neatness that makes this process easier.”

As we will never tire of stressing, misleading speech needs to be countered by rational, evidence-based argument. Ofcom was right to move to address this lunacy but did so in a slipshod and incomplete way. In that sense Ofcom is representative of broader society and illustrates that the considerable resources currently being pumped into censorship would be achieve far more positive outcomes if spent on public education instead.

Ofcom to investigate 5G conspiracy comments as telco abuse continues

Telecoms infrastructure and staff are becoming the victims of the 5G conspiracy theories as Ofcom launches a full investigation into the short-sighted comments of TV Presenter Eamonn Holmes.

A swarm of celebrities have been fanning the flames of controversy by effectively endorsing conspiracy theories linking the coronavirus outbreak to the deployment of 5G telecoms equipment, and the latest is Eamonn Holmes, Presenter of ITV’s This Morning, a show which regularly attracts more than one million daily viewers.

Holmes has already addressed the statements which were made last week (which were very Trumpesque) but few will pay attention to the retraction. In fairness, Holmes did state he agreed the conspiracy theory was incorrect, but in questioning the validity of mainstream media, conspiracy theorists were given the ammunition needed.

For example, former-BBC Presenter and current-conspiracy theorist David Icke has tweeted support to the short-sighted reference made by Holmes without referencing the fact Holmes stated the conspiracy theory was not true. For those who thrive off half-truths and pseudoscience, Holmes has provided a soundbite to be used as support for inaccurate and false beliefs.

In the pursuit of balance, Holmes has affirmed his position. He does not believe there is any link between 5G and the coronavirus outbreak. It appears Holmes was attempting to present himself as a philosophical thinker, but it was a very amateurish attempt for someone who has such vast experience in front of camera.

As a result of the comments, Ofcom has launched an investigation, “assessing this programme in full as a priority”. 419 complaints were received about Holmes and his ill-advised comments.

Most of the time such baseless and idiotic theories are relegated to the comment boards on Reddit or obscure websites, but for some reason there are individuals who believe the nonsense. It does appear a lack of education into what 5G is and the complicated nature of spectrum is to blame, though the consequences are quite severe.

Over the weekend, BT CEO Philip Jansen complained about physical and verbal abuse which has been directed towards 39 field engineers, and Vodafone has also confirmed its staff have been the victim of abuse. Telecoms Association Mobile UK said there were an additional 20 arson attacks spread over the bank holiday weekend on mobile infrastructure, and it seems the trend is also spreading to Europe as Dutch infrastructure also came under attack.

The consequences are simple. Firstly, the field engineers are not necessarily and very unlikely to be working on 5G infrastructure. These individuals, who have been deemed essential workers, are most likely improving the resilience and reliability of existing networks to ensure the general public can communicate with friends and family during this time of self-isolation, or work from home to keep the economy ticking over.

The second very damaging consequence is to the emergency services. These organisations, which are critical today, make use of the telecoms infrastructure which is being targeted. Amazingly, the arsonists are not always attacking 5G masts (the intended target), sometimes just going for the easiest target which might well house 2G, 3G or 4G equipment, as confirmed by Vodafone.

“Telecoms networks are the backbone that is keeping our vital health, education and emergency services online, and all of us connected to friends and family,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “We must keep them safe and secure. It is the responsibility of internet giants, content providers, and social media platforms to continue to ensure disinformation doesn’t jeopardise our connectivity in this emergency situation.”

Although it is frustrating, this is perhaps something we will have to get used to in the short-term. It seems education on 5G is the only thing which will reassure the general public that mobile connectivity is safe, and of course preventing idiots like Eamonn Holmes adding fuel to the fire. The overwhelming majority of scientists have confirmed these conspiracy theories are false, but education takes time.

YouTube changes rules to ban 5G conspiracy talk from platform

Google-owned YouTube has altered its community guidelines to ensure all conspiracy theories which suggest 5G is the cause or an accelerator of COVID-19.

Under the previous guidelines, such content would be labelled as borderline and therefore would be removed from the recommendation engines. YouTube would stop short of eradicating the content from the platform completely, there are of course free-speech complications, but these rules have now been amended.

All content which makes claims linking 5G as a cause of the coronavirus or suggests the mobile technology somehow aids the spread of the virus will be banned from the video platform.

This might be considered a violation of rights by the idiotic conspiracy theorists or the gullible fools who would believe such dribble, but it is fake news and should be treated as such. The communications infrastructure is far too important in combatting COVID-19 and for the recovery efforts, that everything possible should be done to protect it, including tackling misinformation campaigns.

The change in approach from YouTube was perhaps inspired by a weekend which saw dozens of telecoms masts, the very communications infrastructure used by emergency services, attacked by simpletons, some of whom believed the virus was a hoax to cover-up the ill-effects of radio frequency radiation. Others believed 5G suppresses the immune the system and a few have suggested the virus is somehow using it to communicate or transfer to new hosts.

The claims are amazingly ridiculous, on par with the escapades of Spongebob Squarepants, though there are still some in society who listen and are subsequently inspired into criminal action.

Representatives of the social media fraternity are due to sit down with UK Government officials to discuss the dissemination of misinformation. This might have spurred YouTube into action, though videos on its platform which encouraged violence and vandalism would of course have gotten executives twitchy.

This of course will not be the end of the ridiculous theories which cause damage to society, and we suspect there will be other ways for the tinfoil hat army to find their daily fix of fantasy, but at least YouTube is not going to be assisting the ludicrous adventures of delusional nincompoops.

Should content fall into either of the categories below, it will now be removed from the YouTube platform.

  • Content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, as described by the WHO and local health authorities
  • If any content suggests that COVID-19 does not exist or that the symptoms are caused by 5G (or not caused by anything other than the virus) are now in violation of our policies. In addition, claims that taking the COVID-19 test will lead to contracting the virus are also in violation of our policies