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Telstra turns to humour to battle false 5G claims

  • 1 minute read
  • Published by Crispin Moller on 5 Nov 2020
  • Last modified 24 Nov 2020
Telstra, the largest operator by subscribers in Australia, faced with a spike in misinformation around 5G safety hired a local comic to try to tame the spread of conspiracy theories linking the new mobile standard with Covid-19 (coronavirus) and environmental damage.

Early in 2020, Telstra noted a significant increase in negative 5G posts on its social media channels from groups such as #Stop5G, which it saw when looking at Google search analytics comparing a range of 5G keywords.

Mike Wood, principal for electromagnetic energy (EME) strategy at Telstra, told Mobile World Live that when the pandemic began to impact Australia and lockdown restrictions went into force, some groups started linking the virus to the rollout of 5G, “sparking a domino effect as we saw a jump in search volumes around the dangers and general safety surrounding the new technology”.

In addition to spreading disinformation online, activists damaged five base station sites in Australia. Neighbouring New Zealand faced a string of 17 arson attacks.

The phenomena certainly is not limited to those countries.

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