5G Tech

Why are 5G conspiracy theories running wild?

A victim of poor timing, 5G will forever be associated with the Covid-19 pandemic

Elihay Vidal 14:1318.06.20
The fifth generation of cellular communication technologies, aka 5G, have in recent months become a classic example of conspiracy theories run amuck. The worst imaginable stories have been linked to this technology, from birds that die mid-flight while crossing its broadcast radius to entire herds of cattle being killed just from standing in proximity to an antenna, to technicians suffering from terminal diseases and increase death rates among people who live near 5G antennas. Every hair-raising story possible has already been smoothly folded into a conspiracy, posted on social media and massively spread across the world wide web.


And if that wasn’t enough for the purveyors of fake news, along came the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and enabled them to upgrade the conspiratorial narrative. According to the latest 5G conspiracies, the Covid-19 virus isn’t even biological and didn’t originate in bats, but rather the result of the new generation of cellular technologies coming online and distributed by the Americans in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was one of the first locations the network was deployed in. And if that wasn’t sufficient, an extra layer was added on top claiming that the panic caused by the outbreak was meant to serve Bill Gates and his secret plan to plant chips in every human on the planet and track them using 5G antennas. And of course, into this fake news smorgasbord, you can add the connection to the ancient secret society - the Illuminati.


Installing 5G technology. Photo: Bloomberg Installing 5G technology. Photo: Bloomberg

The conspiracy theories surrounding the 5G networks began spreading way before anyone had even heard of Covid-19. One of the main peddlers in the fearmongering was Russia Today (RT), one of the biggest news providers and consciousness shapers in the world, which started the campaign against 5G back in 2019. The popular television channel and website, which is considered a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and the protege of Russian President Vladimir Putin, claimed it was a dangerous experiment being carried out on the human race, describing it as “the fifth generation apocalypse.” Putin actually spoke out in favor of the technology, but RT posited that the danger rested in the American technology threatening to take over the public space in the age of autonomous vehicles, online manufacturing, the internet of things and smart cities.


American intelligence agencies have pointed to RT as one of the biggest meddlers in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. They estimated that by spreading fake news, Russia was activating a sophisticated geopolitical attack with the goal of harming American interests around the world because Russia was lagging behind in developing and producing fifth-generation technologies. The broadcaster’s content is widely distributed across various online channels and platforms, including fake testimonials spread through Facebook and YouTube that gain millions of daily views.


“It’s is not just a matter of believing in a bizarre theory about hidden forces who want to implant us with chips so they can monitor and control our actions. That is not new, and that attitude has been around for thousands of years. Human beings have always believed that there is a hidden hand guiding world events to their own benefit, be it God or the Illuminati. Lack of knowledge about the world and how it works has always produced conspiracy theories. But when it comes to the issue of 5G, you add an element of distrust, in science, in the media and in the government,” explained Dr. Yaron Cohen-Tzemach, who teaches philosophy and rhetoric at Tel Aviv University, and writes about conspiracy theories.


“According to the stories we’ve been told, the virus came out of nowhere and forced us to stay at home, lose work, and stop meeting with family members. The theorists believe that the entire coronavirus scare was orchestrated to allow governments to lay down 5G infrastructure undisturbed. The quarantine was not meant to prevent the spread of disease, but to establish a new world order, they would have us believe,” Cohen-Tzemach said.




Cohen-Tzemach, who has spent the last few years following social and political events and phenomena that have inspired conspiracy theories, points out that the distrust he identifies has increased lately amid a period of political instability. In Israel for example, a series of hotly contested and inconclusive elections has further eroded the already abysmal faith in politicians, who only made matters worse by constantly accusing each other of spreading disinformation and fake news before choosing to serve together in the same government. “Many citizens don’t believe the media either, after all this was a central tenant of the campaigns of Donald Trump in the U.S. and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, for years they have been telling us that the mainstream media is hiding the truth and cannot be trusted,” Cohen-Tzemach said.


“In Trump’s case, he has for years also been systematically trying to destroy the credibility of scientists and science in general. All this combined to produce a perfect storm for the flourishing of conspiracy theories: from the Chinese intentionally spreading the virus to Bill Gates. This was added on to decades of fear of technology dating all the way back to the Luddites, who took hammers and fire to machines, to today when people believe antennas are dangerous to people’s health. What could be easier than connecting the deployment of 5G equipment and the outbreak of a pandemic? Science was already caught with its pants down, unable to explain the origin of the virus, its method of spreading and ways to treat it,” Cohen-Tzemach said.


He argues that it should come as no surprise that “alternative facts” have prevailed during an era that people no longer believe in the traditional agents of knowledge and anyone can write about “the truth that they don’t want you to hear about” and spread it freely online.


“In fact, there is no substance to many of the ‘reports’ about new and mysterious diseases caused by the new antennas. This campaign has been cooking for several years already and broke out last year, with the focus being 5G satellites that Elon Musk was planning to send into space. Unfortunately for the new cellular technology, it will forever be associated with and in some cases blamed for the Covid-19 pandemic, because facts are powerless to convince the believers,” Cohen-Tzemach said.