By: Vivek J
April 21 2023
A clip from a video aimed at educating people on how conspiracy theories are created has been used to spread misinformation.
A video clip circulating on Facebook has been misinterpreted as evidence that 5G technology was used to spread COVID-19. However, this video was created by a YouTube channel to show how easy it is to create conspiracy theories and the means used to solidify such fake news. Ironically, a clip from this very video has been used to propagate misinformation.
In the clip, a man claiming to work on 5G masts shows a circuit board with “COV 19” written on it. The person says he has been installing these circuit boards on cellphone towers for the past few weeks while everyone else was in lockdown, claiming that installers have been instructed not to open the 5G toolkit and that he found this circuit board inside. This clip has been shared implying that 5G towers were used to spread the coronavirus infection. However, this is incorrect.
Using screenshots to conduct a reverse image search, we came across a YouTube video dated June 5, 2020, on a channel named “Don’t Panic London” titled “How to Start a conspiracy theory - Heydon Prowse.”
The description of the 2020 YouTube video reads, “In a world that has become so mad that it is impossible to parody, Heydon Prowse and Don't Panic turned their satirical hands to conspiracy theories instead. This is our attempt to vaccinate the world from the virus of fake news,” which clarifies that this video was made in an attempt to show how conspiracy theories can be created.
In the full video, Prowse explains how he created the viral video, showing how it was shot and how “COV 19” was engraved onto a circuit board. A Twitter post by Prowse dated June 5, 2020, where it was mentioned that he and “Don’t Panic,” a creative agency, were attempting to “vaccinate the world from the virus of fake news.”
Multiple conspiracy theories link 5G to the spread of COVID-19, leading four U.K. mobile network operators, EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone, to issue a joint statement that there is no scientific evidence linking COVID-19 and 5G in April 2020. The U.K. government also issued guidance on May 6, 2020, stating that there is no evidence of a link between 5G and COVID-19.
The video was created by Heydon Prowse in collaboration with a creative company to show how conspiracy theories and fake news are created. A clip from this video has been edited out and shared to show that a 5G tower engineer exposed the link between 5G and COVID-19. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.