If a fool argues a point artfully and loudly enough, it won’t talk long for it to take hold among people who lack the common sense to challenge said point. One such instance of this is a worrisome trend of individuals spreading misinformation regarding 5G cellular towers and the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In recent weeks since the spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide and across the globe, a rallying cry among conspiracy theorists has been framed to connect the spreading pandemic to 5G towers. The News Literacy Project, aimed at helping students effectively discern between fake news and factual reports, published in its The Sift newsletter this week the pitfalls of misinformation during a time where getting the truth to the people can be a matter of life or death.
Of note, the idea that the pandemic was a staged hoax or “false flag” event began to take hold by way of the anti-vaxxer community and those in the QAnon community. This small but vocal segment of the digital landscape helped promote this idea and caused a fervor amongst the uninformed but the work of journalists and investigators have largely debunked the theory that the record number of deaths in New York, New Jersey, and other COVID-19 hotspots aren’t plumped up data from plucked from the skies.
The newsletter also pointed to the work of The Poynter Institute’s Politifact blog and Lead Stories‘ ongoing coverage of the burgeoning theory that 5G towers is a culprit. Despite the implausible link, many are using social media and other means to push the 5G misinformation agenda and in Europe, there have been reports of towers being burned down.