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“Seven years after the arrival of 4G, EE has finally switched on the UK’s first 5G networks in six UK cities – and more are coming. The upgrade promises much faster data connections but conspiratorially-minded online activists are convinced that the new technology will bring with it something much more sinister than an end to video buffering.
On social media, forums and online blogs, anti-5G activists are attributing a bewildering range of maladies to 5G, including cancer, infertility, autism and Alzheimer’s. In November 2018, a viral Facebook post blamed a 5G test mast for the mysterious death of 300 birds in the Netherlands (the test actually took place months earlier), while people in anti-5G groups share tips on how to smash down telephone masts. But how did an incremental upgrade in mobile networks turn into the internet’s favourite new conspiracy theory?
Perhaps the most prominent lynchpin in the anti-5G movement is John Kuhles – a Dutch UFO researcher who founded the “Stop5G” Facebook group in 2018. The group, which now has more than 20,000 members, was the ground zero of the bird death myth, and other theories, including one suggesting that the Californian wildfires in November 2018 were a punishment by the “ruling elite” because of the state’s failure to roll out “mass 5G”.”
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