On May 4, News Front Georgia published an article titled “US Minister of Defense Let Slip – 5G Could Be Destructive”. The article discusses a statement by Mark Esper, the United States Secretary of Defense concerning 5G mobile network and a Chinese company Huawei. The article also cites Esper’s words that “5G is an important example that China tries to commit damaging, destructive acts”.
A title by News Front Georgia which mentions that Mark Esper let slip about the harm of the mobile network is manipulative and misleading. The title does not respond to the information given in the article. News Front cited Esper’s words on 5G and Huawei misleadingly and out of context in the title, promoting the reinforcement of conspiracy theories on coronavirus and 5G.
In reality, Esper spoke about 5G in the context of Chinese companies and saw threats in Chinese infrastructure, not in the new generation of the mobile network. In an interview with La Stampa, disseminated by the Reuters, Esper stated that the dependence on the Chinese suppliers in the process of constructing 5G infrastructure can lead to the delay, manipulation, and espionage risks.
Mark Esper: “The United States is aware that some countries will try to use the pandemic as a way to invest in the critical industry and infrastructure, with effect on security in the long term… Potential opponents will almost certainly try to use their interest to put their interests forward and create divisions in NATO and Europe… Huawei and 5G are an important example of this malign activity by China.”
Conspiracy theories about 5G with misleading titles have been disseminated earlier, too. On April 25, “ქართული აზრი” (“Georgia idea”) misled its readers with a title, when it wrote that the United Kingdom refused the 5G network, while in fact it simply refused to cooperate with Huawei. Please find more detailed information in a publication by Myth Detector.
Prepared by Keti Dvali
Myth Detector Lab