Facebook taking 'aggressive steps' to quash 5G conspiracy theories that could cause physical harm

(Image credit: Stephen Warwick/Windows Central)

5g Facebook

Source: Stephen Warwick/iMore (Image credit: Source: Stephen Warwick/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Facebook has vowed tougher measures to suppress false conspiracy theories about 5G and COVID-19.
  • It says it will remove stories that could cause physical harm.
  • It comes after a weekend of reports where UK engineers were threatened and 5G towers were burned down.

A report by the Independent states that Facebook has said it will actively remove stories linking 5G and the coronavirus pandemic that could cause physical harm.

According to the report:

Facebook says it has started to remove stories linking coronavirus and 5G – but only if they will cause physical harm.The site said that it is taking "aggressive steps" to remove such misinformation as part of its response to coronavirus hoaxes and false stories more generally.But it will only take down those posts that are likely to cause physical harm, rather than any posts that include false claims about a link between phone masts and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now physical harm is not just limited to violence from those propagating the story, or those who could be impacted by the burning of masts. It also includes claims about cures, treatments or the location/severity of the outbreak. For example, spreading false information regarding whether or not it was safe to travel or to flout social distancing could see your post get removed.

Facebook will also remove posts that encourage acts of arson against 5G masts.

Over the weekend we reported a spate of attacks whereby UK broadband engineers were threatened with verbal and physical abuse. It was also reported that several cities had seen 5G masts and mobile network towers (even ones that don't provide 5G) target by arson. As our report confirmed, there were also examples of violent threats against NHS patients on coronavirus wards in the UK, like the one below.


Source: iMore (Image credit: Source: iMore)

Thankfully, it seems that enough of a media storm was kicked up such that Facebook is taking these threats seriously. Sadly, however, these measures will not extend to propagating stories or information about the conspiracy if no one is under threat of physical harm. But it's a start.

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

  • So how many Jason Ward articles will make it through? Should we start a pool?
  • I love Jason's stuff, but he fell for Russian propaganda on that one and still declines to admit or walk it back.
  • What happened? I don't recall this.
  • Back in 2018 Ward soft-peddled the 5G-causes-cancer BS, saying that the scientists and companies assuring people that non-ionizing radiation can't cause cancer based on theory and decades of evidence could all be corrupt. He even pulled a "we report, you decide," lining up whacko videos and other sources spouting nonsense and then claiming he's just trying to state the facts. He also predicted that 2019 would be a year when anti-5G would go mainstream politically as the casualties mounted. Then he stopped writing for Windows Central. David Fleetwood, Jason Ward's work is all bullshit. Always was. Every last bit of it. He just talks out of his ass. It's a wonder he kept his job at Windows Central as long as he did. The good news is RT is always hiring.
  • Nah, Jason has a lot of good content and many of his observations are good and necessary. A lot of mainstream sites fell for the 5G misinformation campaign. But I do expect people to admit and retract when it is found that they fed into something like that and I am disappointed that he hasn't.
  • Idiots believe every little bit of fake news posted on social media, but when our Prime minister implores people to stay at home - everyone decided to go out to parks, beaches, meet up with friends etc.
  • Those idiots believe what they want to believe. Anything they don't like is "fake news."
  • actually can you prove it is not true? We've got democracy- why not run referendum about 5g- why somone is deciding for others? Did you compare map of 5g and coronavirus deaths? Do you believe in everything what scientists says? You can see now how they're small when facing coronavirus.
  • Yes, you can prove it. Unfortunately, nefarious scientists are the ones who can do the proving. All part of an Illuminati plot. Just ignore scientists, prfraczek. When they finally reveal themselves to be Lizard People, we'll know you were right all along.
  • Well considering arguably the biggest hit area for coronavirus is Europe, which has a very low 5G implementation (like VERY low), I'd say one could safely assume that 5G isn't a cause, or a contributor.