British mobile network providers have been forced to debunk ‘baseless’ theories circulating online that 5G masts are linked to coronavirus after several masts were set on fire.
MobileUK, the trade organisation representing Three, O2, EE and Vodafone, added it was concerning the pandemic was being used to further such untruths and said some of the industry’s key workers are being abused over the unfounded 5G myths.
It comes after videos emerged online of phone masts ablaze, including one in Birmingham and one in Coventry.
Shocking footage posted to Facebook captured the moment the 70ft (21m) masts erupted in flames, with firefighters dispatched to tackle the inferno.
Emergency services were called to the blaze on Spring Road in the Sparkhill area of the city at 8.18pm on Thursday night. Firefighters battled to douse the flames for two hours while police closed the road to protect traffic. Police say they are not yet sure what started the fire.
West Midlands Fire Service said eight firefighters attended an incident on Thursday evening, involving a 70-foot tower on a telecommunications site in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham – though a spokesman said the cause was yet to be identified and could not confirm whether the mast in question was 5G.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: ‘We’re aware of a fire involving a phone mast, but are awaiting further details on its cause.’
But in a now-deleted Facebook group, conspiracy theorists claimed 5G being emitted was sparking coronavirus.
There is no scientific evidence that 5G technology poses any threat to human health and it was confirmed as safe by the radiation watchdog last month.
Facebook said the banned page was deleted for breaching its policies because it has the potential to cause real world harm.
However, one user claimed they reported the page early on to moderators for promoting violence, only to receive a response saying it was not deemed to be in violation of Facebook’s community standards.
Several videos claiming to show 5G towers on fire were posted to a page on Facebook, which encouraged others to do the same.
The page was created on Thursday and taken down by Facebook on Friday morning.
Mobile UK, the trade body which represents network providers, said it is ‘concerning that certain groups are using the Covid-19 pandemic to spread false rumours and theories about the safety of 5G technologies’.