Twitter starts labeling some tweets falsely linking 5G to the spread of coronavirus instead of hiding or removing them
- The platform is fact-checking some tweets about 5G conspiracies
- A notice prompts users to ‘get the facts on COVID-19’
- The message directs users to a page that debunks the claims
- Twitter recently changed its policy on allowing such content on its platform
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Twitter is allowing some tweets containing conspiracy theories falsely linking coronavirus to 5G networks to remain on Twitter behind a fact-checked message.
As reported by CNBC, some tweets promoting the conspiracy theory are being labeled with a message that reads ‘get the facts on COVID-19’ which directs users to a fact-checking page titled, ‘No 5G isn’t causing coronavirus.’
The page debunks the myths, linking to official sources and credible reports in the media.
Twitter is leaving some tweets attempting to link 5G and coronavirus on its platform. Instead of removing them it labels them with a fact-checking message (stock)
‘We’re prioritising the removal of COVID-19 content when it has a call to action that could potentially cause harm,’ a spokesperson told CNBC.
‘As we’ve said previously, we will not take enforcement action on every Tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19.’
Twitter’s decision to label the content is part of a broader push by social platforms to stamp out conspiracy theories and misinformation regarding coronavirus.
Despite the efforts, some hoaxes, including baseless theories that 5G causes coronavirus, have managed to spread, sometimes with real-life consequences.
Last month, dozens of incidents were reported in Europe, and Australia where vandals damaged cellular antennas and made threats to telecom workers over unfounded fears that the coronavirus was being spread through 5G technology.
Likewise, telecom firms were warned after dozens of arson attacks on 5G towers were reported in the United Kingdom, Holland, and Belgium in April.
Pictured: Charred remains of a Vodafone 4G communications mast in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull after conspiracy theorists confused it with a 5G mast
While Twitter had previously announced that it would take action against conspiracy theories attempting to link 5G and coronavirus, the appearance of labels is the first evidence of what the platforms exact course of action will be.
In some cases, the platform has opted to remove content entirely as opposed to veiling it behind a fact-checking message.
In late April, the company said it had already removed 2,230 tweets ‘containing misleading and potentially harmful content’ since updating its policies on March 18.
How 5G, an ultra-fast form of mobile internet, became embroiled in a nonsensical coronavirus conspiracy theory
5G is a form of mobile internet which utilises high levels of the electromagnetic spectrum and poses no known risk to human health.
It is becoming widely integrated in telecommunications and offers ultra-fast mobile internet.
But the form of wireless communication is called non-ionising, meaning it can not damage DNA or bodily tissues.
Many phones are now 5G compatible, as are other electronic devices.
5G is also being lined up for use in self-driving cars and other forms of instantaneous communication while on the move.
Around a year ago, nonsensical claims emerged online claiming 5G was hazardous to health.
A cult following of misinformed individuals developed and they propagated false theories about its danger to human health.
5G is a form of mobile internet which utilises high levels of the electromagnetic spectrum and poses no known risk to human health
They were largely restricted to dark corners of the web, such as the content produced by conspiracy theorist David Icke.
But since the coronavirus pandemic, such beliefs have become more mainstream.
A deluded view that 5G, a form of wireless communication, causes COVID-19 (a virus not affected by wireless communication) spread like wildfire on social media.
This caught traction, and resulted in dozens of attacks on phone masts. It is believed the vandals were targeting 5G masts, but some were unable to tell the difference between a 5G mast and a 4G mast.
Social media companies, industry bodies, health experts, radiation experts and fact-checking organisations have been forced to put out damning statements reiterating the fact there is not a single shred of reputable evidence linking 5G to coronavirus.
Or, for that matter, linking 5G to and health concerns.
But, despite the best efforts of those in the know, the claims are still circulating online.
There are two main theories: one falsely suggests 5G suppresses the immune system while the other falsely claims the virus is somehow using the network’s radio waves to communicate and pick victims, accelerating its spread.
The conspiracy theorist flames were fanned by celebrity Amanda Holden when she tweeted a link to a petition about the COVID-19/5G theory.
David Icke was put on camera by London Live and allowed to spew his views, which are factually incorrect, and the broadcaster was reprimanded by OFCOM, saying it ‘had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers’.
Eamonn Holmes also appeared to air sympathies with the theories on This Morning, when he offered an emotional defence of the belief.
He was forced to backtrack amid outrage. OFCOM also ‘issued guidance’ to ITV following Mr Holmes’ comments.
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