Celebrities who “fan the flames” of conspiracy theories linking the deployment of 5G masts to the coronavirus epidemic are endangering public health, warned a leading scientist.
Technology conspiracy theories have spread on Facebook for many months, but are now linked to coronavirus epidemic.
A 5G mast in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham was set on fire suspicion of arson, pdisappointing concerns that the conspirators have started to get violent.
Celebrities, including Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden and Cheers actor Woody Harrelson, have been among those who have amplified these conspiracy theories in recent days despite scientists’ rejection of the claims.
Dr. Michael Head, a senior global health researcher at the University of Southampton, described conspiracy theorists as “a danger to public health who has already read a Facebook page”.
“Here we also see similar groups of people wanting to show their ignorance on a subject where they have no useful expertise, and no desire to post useful public health messages.
“Celebrities fanning the flames of these conspiracy theorists should be ashamed of themselves,” added Dr. Head.
Holden tweeted a link to a petition linking symptoms of coronavirus to 5G masts, while Harrelson shared a link on Instagram to an article promoting the conspiracy theory. Her tweet and petition have since been withdrawn.
Reality star Calum Best and blue singer Lee Ryan have expressed support for the conspiracy theory, although Ryan has urged Instagram followers not to attack 5G towers.
In the caption of a picture of a burning phone mast, Ryan wrote, “Guys, I have to say this !!! Don’t start burning 5g rounds !!!!!!!! This is not the way to object. “
Mobile UK, the trade agency representing the network providers, said that key workers had been ill-treated and that the infrastructure had been threatened as a result of the complaints.
Professor Adam Finn, professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol, said: “The internet connections that these networks provide to us are one of the most important tools we use to coordinate our response to the epidemic and efforts of research to overcome it. . “
Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said a connection between telephone poles and the virus would be “both physical and biological impossibility.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports said, “These are baseless theories, there is absolutely no credible evidence of a link between 5G and the coronavirus.
“Threats or violence against a key worker or damage to mobile phone masts will not be tolerated,” they added.
Several videos claiming to show 5G Tours on fire were posted on a Facebook page created on Thursday and deleted on Friday by the platform.
Facebook said the banned page was removed for violating its policies because it could potentially harm the real world.
However, one user said that he reported the page to moderators early on for encouraging violence, only to receive a response that it was not considered contrary to Facebook community standards.