Twitter is putting labels on tweets that wrongly link the spread of the coronavirus with 5G mobile networks.
Instead of deleting or hiding such tweets, Twitter is showing a message on them that reads “Get the facts on Covid-19,” explains a new report from Business Insider. When clicked on, users are taken to a page titled “No 5G isn’t causing coronavirus,” which debunks the conspiracy theory by linking to credible media websites and other official sources.
A Twitter spokesperson said: “We’re prioritizing the removal of COVID-19 content when it has a call to action that could potentially cause harm. As we’ve said previously, we will not take enforcement action on every Tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19.”
Conspiracy theorists erroneously claim that 5G networking equipment weakens the immune system, or spreads coronavirus. The anti-5G fervor has perhaps been at its most destructive in the UK, where people have damaged more than 70 cell towers since the coronavirus outbreak. But multiple incidents in the US have caught authorities’ attention, and officials are asking the telecom industry to be on heightened alert.
But there’s no evidence that 5G is in any way connected with the coronavirus pandemic. The World Health Organization recently put out an update to its COVID-19 “myth-busting” web page, stating that 5G does not cause the coronavirus.
The company has taken a more aggressive stance on fact-checking tweets in recent weeks, most notably adding fact-check labels in May to two tweets by President Trump that made false claims about mail-in voting.
Twitter is not alone in sounding the alarm. Today, the US Department of Homeland Security is also warning telecommunications providers to have robust security measures in place at 5G cell towers following a series of physical attacks from conspiracy theorists and other extremists.
“While the US has not seen similar levels of attacks against 5G infrastructure linked to the pandemic, the tactics used in Western Europe [have] begun to migrate to the US,” DHS says in the memo.