Conspiracy theories and “escalating disinformation” surrounding 5G pose a threat to economies and risk leaving people without fast data connections, 15 European countries have warned.
In a letter to the European Commission, the countries highlighted an increase in vandalism against telecommunication infrastructure that has resulted in more than 150 arson attacks on 5G masts throughout the continent.
It stated that special regard should be given to the false claims that electromagnetic fields (EMF) radiation from next generation networks pose a health threat and are linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We would like to stress that acts of vandalism against telecommunication infrastructure and escalating disinformation on EMFs and 5G are not only a threat to the economy of the affected member states but hinder also the ability for the European Union to meet its ambitious 5G goals,” the letter states.
“It is important to act now to inform the public of the benefits of 5G as enablers of the digital and green transformation of our businesses and society.”
The UK appears to be worst affected by the anti-5G movement, accounting for 87 of the arson attacks on 5G masts.
France and the Netherlands have also seen a significant number of attacks, with 80 masts set on fire in both countries to date.
Conspiracy theories linking the roll-out of 5G to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus have been fuelled by dozens of Facebook groups promoting the false claims.
The letter called on the commission to launch an awareness campaign “based on digital literacy” that would allow European citizens to “independently discern between truth and falsehoods”.
Facebook has taken action against the groups that proliferated on its platform earlier this year, forcing many of the conspiracy theorists to establish a presence on other apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.
The countries offered to contribute their joint expertise to provide scientific research on risks related to human health from new technologies.
Numerous studies have already disproved the most dangerous claims of conspiracy theorists relating to electromagnetic radiation.
The World Health Organisation’s International Electromagnetic Fields Project has analysed potential EMF health concerns since 1996 and are yet to identify any adverse effects.