Fact check: 5G does NOT cause Covid-19, please be rational
Of all the most random things that could be linked together, 5G and coronavirus tops the charts. There are a whole lot of terribly silly rumours doing the rounds of the internet about 5G being responsible for Covid-19. In fact, this random conspiracy theory is so alarming that the likes of Facebook and Google have stepped in to fight it.
Just to get the facts straight before we go on to tell more about this ridiculous conspiracy theory -
- 5G does not cause Covid-19
- 5G networks use radio waves to transmit data
- The coronavirus is spread by the SARS-CoV-2 virus
- The coronavirus DOES NOT travel through radio waves
If you don't believe us, here's the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) telling you the same thing:
YouTube is usually lenient with most videos put up on the site till someone blatantly posts something that is against its policies. And it was marking most of these Covid-19 and 5G controversy videos as 'borderline' till one video changed everything.
Featuring a noted conspiracy theorist David Icke, the video linking 5G and Coronavirus was watched by about 65,000 people as it was streamed live for nearly two and half hours before it was taken down. It was BBC who finally managed to get the video taken down since YouTube didn't do it at first.
Here are some of the things the video propagated:
— There is a link between 5G and this health crisis.
— If 5G continues and reaches where they want to take it, human life as we know it is over. So people have to make a decision.
— Icke also claimed that any potential Coronavirus vaccine, as and when it comes, would include nanotechnology microchips. He also said that Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping fund Coronavirus vaccine research, should be jailed.
Besides these, there were other conspiracy theories that claimed that coronavirus tests were conducted to spread the virus. And this pandemic has actually been plotted to hide the deaths that were caused by 5G connectivity.
To make it more convincing, these claims were credited to a former UK mobile executive, according to reports.
And you know what happened as a result?
Besides the usual panic and a rapid spread of ban 5G calls, some miscreants went ahead and burned down cell phone towers in the UK.
This, and of course the pandemic, is what finally made YouTube realise that such videos need to be addressed urgently and with due diligence, essentially, they need to be banned.
"Now any content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, as described by the WHO [World Health Organization] and local health authorities is in violation of YouTube policies. This includes conspiracy theories which claim that the symptoms are caused by 5G," YouTube said in a statement.
While YouTube will still continue to reduce recommendations for borderline content "that could misinform users in harmful ways", the video-streaming platform is finally stepping up its game against COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
But YouTube isn't the only point of chaos. There is also Facebook. Earlier in March, Ben Mackie shared Icke's sentiments on Facebook by saying that Coronavirus wasn't even a virus and the 5G towers being built around the world are causing Covid-19.
Mackie also said that Bill Gates had invented 5G to 'depopulate' the world.
All these claims were later and finally debunked by UK fact checker FullFact. This also pushed Facebook to tweak its policies.Facebook is now actively removing posts that are connecting 5G to the virus.
"We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms and connect people to accurate information about Coronavirus. 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," Facebook said in a statement.
And while we are at it, it would be a good time to bring up WhatsApp forwards. WhatsApp has put a limit on forwarding frequently forwarded messages and for good measure. So, it doesn't matter who sent that forward to you - 5G has NOTHING to do with the pandemic or the virus.
Now, go wash your hands.