Ofcom: Covid-19 5G theories are ‘most common’ misinformation
Unfounded theories linking Covid-19 technology to 5G technology are the most common example of online disinformation in the UK, according to an Ofcom survey.
The media regulator said that 50% of respondents saw some examples of misinformation during the third week of the block, compared to 46% in the first week.
Of these, half had seen the confusing 5G conspiracy theory, he said.
There are concerns about the false claims that prompted people to set fire to communication trees across the UK.
A spokesman for the Mobile UK industrial entity told BBC News that there have been “more than 50” of these arson attacks but fewer in the past few days.
Claims that 5G spreads coronavirus or weakens people’s immune systems, making them susceptible to it, have been denounced by scientists as “competitors of the garbage”.
“From my experience, [the survey] it reflects reality, “said cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley.
“Many people talk about it and a worrying number of people seem to give it some sort of credibility.”
He added that he fears that there will be a deluge of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories if and when a coronavirus vaccine is made available.
The proportion of those interviewed the use of a fact-checking website went from 10% in the first week of the blockade to 18% the week after, dropping to 15% in the third week.
And the percentage that claims they find it hard to determine what was true online has dropped from 40% to 32%.
In the meantime, 97% continued to access news about Covid-19 at least once a day.
Although, 39% of young people between the ages of 25 and 34, up from 30% in the first week, said they had tried to avoid it.
More than 33% of respondents chose the BBC as the most important source of news and information during the pandemic than any other supplier.