The introduction and use of fifth-generation cellular networks has led to a wave of misinformation, conspiracy theories and biased communications, apparently organized by the Kremlin. Will such a campaign reach Estonia?
Increased activity on the topic in Social Media
In May 2019, the Global Disinformation Index detected a surge in the websites and accounts of anti-5G groups. Material had grown against the development of 5 G on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Within a short period of time, the various „STOP 5G“ regional groups formed 74 groups and 123 websites.
The number of account followers on Twitter using the hashtag #stop5G tripled in mid-May 2019, reaching 1.1 million followers. The DSI study focused solely on the topic, without going into the origin of the accounts or the interrelationships.
Hundreds of Russia Today narratives
In early 2018, RT USA took up the 5G theme and began to cover it on a regular basis. RT’s basic narrative was that it was a dangerous experiment against humanity.
The radio signal used for 5G communications was associated with the development of brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. 5G is apparently also the cause of childhood cancers, nosebleeds and learning disabilities.
The same messages are spreading across groups and websites identified by DSI with the same general trend as those associated with predicting the end of the world.
A solid conspiracy theory.
The 5G campaign is built on the same model as the anti-vaccination campaign.
Stop5G groups and websites feature all of the RT-triggered narratives, in addition to deliberately selected, message-backing, research, and articles from pseudoscientists and publications.
People’s ignorance of radio waves, frequencies and technologies is actively exploited and, for comparison, they have drawn parallels with the supposed harmfulness of X-rays and microwaves.
The case of dead birds in the Hague in 2018, where hundreds of birds died in a park in November, is actively used. The case was immediately associated with the 5G trial, although the trial near the park took place months earlier, in June. Even though Snopes, the fact-checking group has refuted the story, it is still being actively used and is spreading in Estonia.
An additional conspiratorial message on 5G talks about the association of the fifth generation communications solution with NATO and the military in general.
Are the Baltics also a target?
Of the Baltic nations, Latvia has been the target of the anti-5G campaign, where the topic is being promoted by Jānis Pļaviņš, creator of the „Miracle“ bottled water, Memory Water, who is curating anti-5G Social Media accounts and postings, publishing videos and organizing demonstrations.
Aivis Vasiļevskis, a candidate for the European Parliament, is also opposed to 5G and believes that 5G was created to destroy the human elite.
The anti-5G issue is being promoted, although it has not received overwhelming public attention. Pļaviņš’s June video on 5G maliciousness has currently been viewed approximately 61,000 times and Vasiļevskises July posting has been shared 836 times to date.
In Estonia, this topic has been developed by a blog kiirgusinfo.ee, edited by MTÜ Kogukonna Hüvanguks. In Social media, the 5G topic stands out on the Facebook page Fake News. The podcast on 5G radiation has been podcasted by Epp Petrone, which can be heard on her blog.
Graphics from GDI, photo is uploaded from Facebook.