New campaign to dispel 5G health myths launched

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

A public information campaign designed to dispel myths around 5G and ease concerns around the technology has been launched by the mobile industry’s trade body.

Mobile UK, which represents the four major UK networks – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – has started the #5GCheckTheFacts campaign to combat misinformation online around 5G.

The trade association said the rise of online conspiracy theories around 5G and false claims it presents a health risk had influenced the opinions of some people, despite extensive research on the subject unearthing no such health risks.

It said it had chosen to launch the campaign after conducting its own research, which found that 3% of people were firmly against 5G and 16% said they thought it could be bad for their health.

Although 81% said they condemned the recent conspiracy theories linking 5G to the coronavirus, nearly half of those asked stated they were uncertain about the benefits of the new technology.

The awareness campaign will include fact-based messages being shared across social media, information toolkits being sent to local authorities and the Mobile UK website acting as a portal to wider sources of information on the subject.

The body said it hoped the scheme would help both educate and reassure members of the public about the 5G network rollout and address any health concerns they may have.

“While it is clear that only a small minority of people are against 5G, these results highlight a desire for more information and clarification, both with regard to the health and safety of 5G, but also on how the technology can and will truly transform society,” Mobile UK director Hamish McLeod said.

“Our #5GCheckTheFacts campaign is designed to provide this information and answers to people’s most common questions.

“We truly believe that 5G is a benefit offering significant positive changes to us all as well as providing connectivity that will make our lives easier and, in some cases, save lives.”

In the wake of conspiracy theories about 5G spreading last year, a number of phone masts around the UK were vandalised and damaged – an act the Government has previously warned could cost lives as damaging them could prevent calls to the emergency services from being made.

An Ofcom report published in April last year warned that false claims linking the origins or causes of coronavirus to 5G were the most common piece of misinformation seen by people online.

The Government has since created a pamphlet on 5G masts in a bid to dispel such theories, which local authorities are able to hand out to constituents who have encountered the misleading claims.

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