By: Ankita Kulkarni
April 17 2023
The video is from 2018, before 5G was introduced in India, and shows a burning cell phone tower in Ambala, Haryana.
Misinformation regarding 5G technology has been circulating on social media across countries with skeptics and conspiracy theorists claiming that it is an imminent threat to health and well-being. They have advocated against installing 5G towers, linking them to several unproven conspiracy theories, and have called for destroying such towers.
In this context, a recent video shared on Twitter on April 13, 2023, shows a tower on fire, and the caption reads, “In India people are burning 5G towers.” This video has received 34,700 views on the platform. The comments posted under the video are appreciating the action and demanding that more such towers be burnt. However, we found that the video has been miscaptioned.
Initial research shows us that no such incident was recently reported in India. Through reverse image of a screenshot from the video, we found it dates back to 2018. The exact video was posted on a YouTube channel named “Hindxpress Tv” on January 27, 2018. The video description, written in Hindi, translates to: “A fire broke out in a mobile tower located in Barara sub-division in Ambala. The fire took a huge form in no time.”
We found the same video on Facebook posted by a local media outlet called ‘Graameen Drshtikon GD’, (translates to Rural Point of View) on January 27, 2018. The caption to the video also states that the video is from Ambala, Haryana, where a mobile phone tower caught fire, and the cause was not ascertained.
It is evident that the video is from 2018, and thus it is not possible that the tower in the video is a 5G tower, since 5G services were launched in India only on October 1, 2022, according to an Indian Express report.
Logically Facts found that this video was also shared on the Telegram channel called ‘HATSTRUTH’, which routinely shares misinformation and unsubstantiated claims to its over 100,000 subscribers. The video shared on Twitter also contains the ‘HATS’ logo in the top left corner of the video.
A cursory glance at the channel ‘HATSTRUTH’ showed us that it shares a lot of media misinformation, especially relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some videos on the channel were also cross-posted from the social media platform TikTok, which contained dangerous conspiracy theories. This proves that the video has been circulated from a channel that is known to spread misinformation.
Logically Facts has previously debunked misinformation pertaining to the 5G technology, like the claim that it causes viral infections or cancer. There is no such evidence. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated, “to date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Only a few studies have been carried out at the frequencies to be used by 5G.”
An old video of a cell phone tower that caught fire in 2018 has been falsely shared as a 5G tower set on fire in India. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.