Unfounded conspiracy theories about 5G and the coronavirus are infesting social media and leading some people to attack cellphone towers. In the United Kingdom, according to USA Today, several cell towers were set on fire. But a recent Facebook post claiming to show footage of people in China destroying towers in connection with the coronavirus is wrong.
“The Chinese are destroying the 5G poles as they are aware that it is the thing triggering the corona symptoms,” the April 2 post says. “But international news not showing this.”
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The news actually did show this footage — back in August 2019 when it reported on anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong. As Reuters then reported, the video shows protesters tearing down “smart” lampposts “over fears they could be used to collect personal data from citizens.”
The lampposts, which have sensors and closed-circuit TV cameras, were installed as part of a smart-city initiative to monitor illegal waste dumping sites and traffic.
We rate this Facebook post False.
PolitiFact, No evidence that coronavirus was fakes to cover up ‘5G syndrome,’ March 9, 2020
PolitiFact, Fact-checking a conspiracy theory about 5G and the coronavirus, April 3, 2020
USA Today, Cellphone towers attacked as conspiracy theory connecting 5G and coronavirus gains steam, April 6, 2020
Reuters, Hong Kong protesters cut down smart lampposts, Aug. 26, 2019
Business Insider, Hong Kong protesters destroyed ‘smart’ lampposts because they fear China is spying on them, Aug. 26, 2019