Conspiracy theories are everywhere, and for the most part, they are harmless perspectives. But once in a while, some conspiracy theories gain so much momentum that they cause real damage.
Such is the case in the UK right now where people are sending cellphone masts into flames and even abusing broadband engineers over theories that COVID-19 might be related to 5G, according to The Guardian.
One of the first telephone masts to be burned was in Birmingham this week. Network operator EE told The Guardian that the fire was likely an arson attack.
“To deliberately take away mobile connectivity at a time when people need it more than ever to stay connected to each other, is a reckless, harmful and dangerous thing to do. We will try to restore full coverage as quickly as possible, but the damage caused by the fire is significant," said the company.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that there had been more fires at Liverpool and Melling in Merseyside. Several of the fires were also shot on video and shared on Facebook by supposed anti-5G protesters.
The protesters have even gone so far as to verbally abuse broadband engineers. Engineers for BT Openreach, a home broadband services provider, have started taking to posting public pleas on anti-5G Facebook groups. They are asking to be spared the verbal abuse explaining that they are not involved in work related to mobile networks.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport released a Twitter post stating that "there is absolutely no credible evidence" of a link between COVID-19 and 5G. However, that is bound to have little impact on the protesters.
We are aware of inaccurate information being shared online about 5G. There is absolutely no credible evidence of a link between 5G and coronavirus— DCMS (@DCMS) April 3, 2020
For COVID-19 advice:
👉Full Fact research https://t.co/QWYcc4bOEg
One widely circulated video shows engineers for the broadband company Community Fibre verbally abused by a woman claiming 5G is being installed to kill the population. However, the company responded by revealing they weren't even using 5G anywhere.