UK engineers threatened and 5G masts burned by coronavirus conspiracy theorists

5G (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Several reports state that UK broadband engineers have been targeted and threatened by members of the public due to a 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory.
  • There are also reports confirmed of UK 5G masts being burned, and the practice is being encouraged on Facebook.
  • This might be one of the worst things I have ever heard.

Several reports from the UK have confirmed that broadband engineers are facing verbal and physical threats thanks to a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 pandemic has been caused by 5G technology. It has also been reported and confirmed that a small Facebook movement is actively encouraging, and carrying out, the burning of 5G masts across the country. Sit down. We need to talk.

First up, the reports. Yesterday, The Guardian published the following report:

Telecoms engineers are facing verbal and physical threats during the lockdown, as baseless conspiracy theories linking coronavirus to the roll-out of 5G technology spread by celebrities such as Amanda Holden prompt members of the public to abuse those maintaining vital mobile phone and broadband networks.

That's right. Broadband engineers, responsible for the installation and maintenance of the internet, are being threatened and subjected to on-street abuse. Why? Because a conspiracy theory polluting UK Facebook claims that 5G and the coronavirus pandemic are somehow related.

The report continues:

The problem has become so bad that engineers working for BT Openreach, which provides home broadband services, have also taken to posting public pleas on anti-5G Facebook groups asking to be spared the on-street abuse as they are not involved in maintaining mobile networks.

This report, along with several others has also noted that arson attacks are being carried out on 5G masts in major cities. From the BBC:

Mobile phone masts have been torched and engineers abused over "baseless" theories linking coronavirus to 5G.UK mobile network providers have warned against the spread of the theories after videos showing masts on fire were posted on social media.Masts were set alight in Sparkhill, Birmingham, on Thursday and Melling, Merseyside, on Friday.Trade body Mobile UK, which represents network providers, said the false rumours and theories were "concerning".

These were also reported by 5Gradar and The Sun.

5g Mast Burning

Source: 5G (Image credit: Source: 5G)

Conspiracy theories are usually laughable. Sadly, however, it seems that the dangerous stupidity of individuals on Facebook is putting lives and property at risk. I can't even believe that I have to write any this, and I'm sure you find yourself, as I am, at a total loss as to where to even begin with a story like this.

As tweeted by the DCMS in response to these reports, there is, of course, no credible evidence to support the link of 5G and the coronavirus pandemic.

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We even have our own report on 5G and the safety of these new networks! From that report:

There's been no shortage of wild theories regarding the purported dangers of 5G, which far too often get amplified by users with large audiences on social media. Many of these posts are presented without any verifiable sources, and make bold claims that 5G has lead to widespread sudden deaths or even that it caused the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.With a small bit of research, these conspiracy theories are easily debunked. Once again, most of the radio frequencies used for 5G have been in place for years, and the higher frequencies used for millimeter wave 5G non-ionizing. There are simply no signs pointing to 5G being any more dangerous than the LTE networks preceding it. The best thing you can do to prevent the spread of misinformation is to share scientifically backed, well-researched articles and sources demystifying the technologies behind 5G.

I would take a further step and suggest that with no research at all, only logic, it's possible to understand that this cannot possibly be true.

Coronavirus has impacted a lot of people, testing shows that there are now more than a million cases worldwide, and likely there are many more cases that are going undetected through asymptomatic patients and those who have not been tested. If 5G and the coronavirus were linked, everyone would be affected.

Secondly, the most recent reports suggest that there are recorded coronavirus case in 181. GSA figures from March 29 state:

By the end of March 2020 381 operators in 123 countries had announced they were investing in 5G.A total of 70 operators in 40 countries had launched one or more 3GPP-compliant 5G services.

5G is only live in 40 countries. Again, I can't believe we're even here explaining this, but with no scientific or medical research whatsoever, you can clearly demonstrate that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting countries, for example across the African continent, where no 5G networks yet exist.

So who is spreading this nonsense? Well, as The Guardian notes, TV personality, actress Amanda Holden, and a judge on Britain's Got Talent shared an unfortunate petition demanding that the government stop the rollout of 5G over health concerns, a post she has now deleted. On Facebook (and it would be Facebook wouldn't it), which seems to be the epicenter of this movement, both groups and individuals are trying to spread this message.

One Facebook page, now removed, was titled, (and I am not making this up) '5G TOWER FIRE COMP'. As you can see in the image below, they have a league table competition to see who can burn the most towers in UK towns and cities. Ironically, several of the listed locations don't have any 5G coverage. (Burnley, Fleetwood, etc.)

5g League Table

Source: The Sun (Image credit: Source: The Sun)

Perhaps more unnerving still, one individual in these groups (who will not be identified) took to Facebook encouraging violence against coronavirus patients within NHS hospitals to 'uncover the truth'.

Coronavirus Conspiracy

Source: iMore (Image credit: Source: iMore)

This particular profile was awash with such threats and misinformation such as "CoronaVirus is a scam! It's simply a smokescreen for 5G genocide!" in the profile.

This is some of the most deplorable news I have ever read. The conspiracy theory these actions are based on should be laughed out the door by everyone who has a platform to do so. The senseless individuals and movements trying to propagate these lies should, and hopefully will, be silenced. Those carrying out acts of arson and threatening violence will be criminally reprimanded.

As you've probably guessed, there's likely not much to be gained by trying to reason with the people behind all of this. Those making threats, verbal and physical, towards broadband engineers, don't even know the difference between mobile and internet networks. As with every conspiracy theory, each outlet that decries this action becomes part of some elaborate coverup, each piece of evidence against their claims are simply manufactured. Conspiracy theories like this seem to take hold in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary for this very reason.

So spread the right news, from the right places, to everyone who needs to hear it.

Stephen Warwick
  • Some people need to just stay offline.... conspiracy theories were bad enough pre-internet but now they're utterly ridiculous and people are literally believing anything they read.
  • People are so gullible. There is so much misinformation and "comnspiracy theories" that people forgot how to think on their own. 
  • A guy I work with thinks YouTube is a news channel. He thinks TV news is state propeganda, the earth is flat, Donald Trump is a lizard with hologram human skin, planes spread chem trails with mind control chemicals so the new world order can manipulate us and ocupus' are aliens. Just a few of his genuine beliefs. These people live among us and it's scary how gullable they become
  • I have seem a few people like this and its hard to fathom that there are people that think and feel this way.
  • I'm getting pretty tired of human stupidity... I'm not even surprised by man's inhumanity to man anymore... I just read stuff like this and think "yeah, sounds about right". At this point I'm not sure if I'm more worried about my own psychological well-being or everyone else's hahaha.
  • Let's hear it for Fear and Ignorance!
  • The fact that there are people stupid enough to believe this is exactly why the human race is doomed!
  • Only if the sensible people, of which I have faith there are still more, let them get away with their ********.
  • Not much different from the entire world going into indefinite lockdown on a moment's notice. Not that it is, or isn't justified, but my point is: people don't question as much as they should, and "teams" are taking precedence over facts. Looks like Amanda has quite a team. But sure, Facebook, go ahead and censor Team Chloroquine.
    On a side note: I'm looking at the picture of the looted 5g tower, thinking "Didn't Jerry just write a piece on slow internet in Europe?" 😬🤔
  • do us a favor and contract covid
  • Wishing harm on others, just like those threatening telecomm employees.'re a model human being; the apex of human evolution! Nice virtue-signaling fail there, bud. 🤣
    And for the record: already had it, and I was asymptomatic. What, exactly, was your point?
    Wait; never mind. You probably bought the Chicken Little version of the Wuhan virus narrative without a second's thought.
  • Jesus Christ, what a terrible response. There's no proof that chloroquine works. You're parroting the orange jackass occupying the Oval Office.
  • Trump 2020!!! Let's do it
  • Yeah, people have been yelling "****", "Racists" and all this Existential garbage for years.
  • Your proving to all of us.. your the jackass.
  • So much hate. No argument but to call names. What are you, in 3rd grade? Thanks for proving my point.
  • How does anyone that stupid live? Seriously. I wonder if any of them are descendants of people from the Salem witch trials of the 1600s (equally as stupid and dangerous). Or maybe they're related to anti-vaxxers. How someone has the tools we have available in 2020 and believe this crap is amazing. Hopefully Facebook removes these posts and the police catch and prosecute the perpetrators.
  • The witch trials in Salem is unlikely... Besides, at least the people of Salem had fungus contaminated grain as an excuse... Most of them are probably anti-vaxxers though. Morons.
  • They are probably the same people who go out and hoard the TP from stores. 
  • Until they test 5g and it's effects on humans I think it should be stopped being used! Sorry you could say it the other way, that people so damn eager to use stuff even when it's not been tested or trialed for the safety of use.
  • live in a cave much?
  • I agree 100% that it shouldn't be deployed without testing. The trials were already done though... So...
  • Take off your tinfoil hat
  • Strange that someone on here felt the need to delete my comment with the twitter link to a video of birds dropping dead out of the sky near these 5g towers and a guy showing the radiation off the charts coming off these things... Why would someone on here feel the need to delete such a link/comment? Keeping people in the dark pays I guess. Safety and people's well being should be priority number one always. But whoever deleted my tweet with the linked video has other thoughts or excuses I guess...
  • Conspiracy theory jackassery doesn't belong anywhere on here.
  • People like you love to be told what to do and can't handle videos showing what's going on. This whole article about 5g and the virus was and is stupid. 5g and radiation and birds dropping dead and its effects on people's well-being and health isn't. Whoever deleted my comment with the video link has something to hide for who knows why....
  • There is nothing to hide. Your video proves nothing. 5G has been extensively tested and is safe. Stop spreading lies and conspiracy theories.
  • allow engineers to carry guns
  • We got rid of most of the guns after we had a mass shooting at a school in 1996. That's right, we had *A* mass school shooting... A quarter of a century ago...
  • We don't want guns thanks. Americans have them and they're being begged to stop shooting each other so the hospitals can actually treat Covid 19 patients.
  • What?!?! What nonsense are you spreading? On a story about people spouting nonsense, you do the same. Just stop.
  • We should add more sharks to shark-infested waters to protect ourselves from all the sharks.
  • Remember when 4G was going to give us all cancer?
  • Stupid is hard to fix. The service providers should just shut down service in those areas for a few hours, or restrict it to only serve first responders and 911 calls for a few days.
  • And what is Facebook doing about this? Seriously, there are so many blatant violations of their rules that their AI should be able to just pull it, no?
  • Right. Instead Facebook will ban me for 30 days for the dumbest things.
  • Facebook needs to be shutdown ...period
  • You understand that this is absolutely total bollocks
  • We are truly living in Idiocracy.
  • Run by the biggliest idiot of them all. The orange piece of **** in the whitehouse.
  • These "conspiracy theories" are being spread by three groups: 1) Russian Trolls
    2) Marching-Morons who believe anything they see on the internet (see #1 Above.)
    3) ******* Anarchists who just want to see the World Burn.