5G phone masts are being set alight in the UK, after online conspiracy theories have misleadingly linked the cell towers to the coronavirus pandemic.
The BBC reports that at least three 5G towers were set alight within the last week, and police and fire services were called to extinguish the flames.
A Vodafone UK spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that four cell towers were targeted in the past 24 hours. Police have now launched investigations into how the 5G towers caught fire. At least one tower in Birmingham, operated by EE, doesn’t even provide 5G services but was still set on fire.
“Our engineers are assessing the cause of the fire at one of our towers in Birmingham. If it transpires that it was arson, which looks likely at this time, then we will work to help West Midlands police identify a culprit,” says an EE spokesperson. “This site served thousands of people in the Birmingham area, providing vital 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity as it has done for many years. We will try to restore full coverage as quickly as possible, but the damage caused by the fire is significant.”
Rumors and conspiracy theories over a link between the roll out of 5G and the spread of coronavirus have been spread primarily through social media networks. A variety of groups exist on Facebook and Nextdoor, where thousands of members repeat false and misleading claims that 5G is supposedly harmful.
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