In mid-January, Georgian Facebook users, that have been spotted in disseminating disinformation regularly, began sharing claims (1, 2, 3) that 5G is being hidden from the people and is dangerous. The first post shares a long video with a Georgian voiceover listing the negative effects 5G supposedly has on people. The author of the post shared the video with the caption “Expecting threats from 5G frequencies in the new world order.” The other posts share a video from the U.S. showing a man investigating a fake cactus. The users who shared this video both claim that 5G devices are being hidden from people in the U.S.
The claim that 5G is an organised threat to create a new world order, is a conspiracy theory. Furthermore, 5G devices are not being hid from people in the U.S. Cell phone towers have a long history of being built to resemble natural things like trees or cacti due to aesthetic reasons. While the health concerns of 5G are still being debated, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have declared 5G safe.
The first post shared a long video with Georgian narration focusing on the supposed negative effects 5G has on the body. These included skin damage, blood pressure problems, sweating, stress, neurological disorders, infertility in men, and an increased risk of cancer. The video also claimed that 5G was particularly harmful to children and birds.
While some scientists have urged caution in implementing 5G, WHO and FDA have declared 5G safe. According to Christopher Collins, Ph.D., a professor of radiology at New York University interviewed in Forbes, the frequency in which electromagnetic radiation starts to ionise and become dangerous is about 3 million GHz. 5G operates on two frequencies, the highest of which ranges from 24.25 GHz to 52.6 GHz, meaning that it is nowhere near the danger point. It is important to note that non-ionising radio waves, such as those used for mobile phone networks, lack “sufficient energy to break apart DNA and cause cellular damage,” according to David Robert Grimes, a physicist and cancer researcher quoted in the BBC. The claim that 5G is particularly harmful to birds has also been fact-checked numerous times, including in Reuters, by the Audubon Society, and by Myth Detector, see:
The video quotes a number of supposed experts, starting with Olga Sheean who the video states is a former WHO employee. According to her, and Ronald Powell, Ph.D., 5G causes harmful radiation.
Olga Sheean has published numerous anti-5G texts and videos, claiming the WHO is running a conspiracy. However, she has no ties to WHO and has published on a number of different topics, claiming to be an expert on intuitive and energetic healing and the nature of reality, among other things. The citation of Ronald Powell seems to come from a conspiracy site called radiationdangers.com which claims to quote former US Presidential advisor Ron Powell PhD on the 5G threat to public health. However, the source it links to has been removed. In addition, the article claims Ron Powell has worked for the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. However, the name Ron(ald) Powell only appears on similar conspiracy sites and not on any official U.S. sites.
The video also cites the researcher Mark Steele, who supposedly found that 5G is a long radius weapon that was used in the 9/11 terrorist attack and in different arsons. According to him, 5G should be used for AI devices and not as a means of telecommunications.
Marke Steele is a noted conspiracy theorist who claims 5G, WiFi, and other communication networks are part of a distributed weapons system. He has raised thousands of pounds on Facebook by peddling these conspiracies, though there has been no news of what this money is being used for.
Finally, the video cites Arthur Firstenberg, stating that in 2002, he published research about the dangers of 5G technology. According to this research, 5G electro impulses become antennas which cause harmful radiation to humans.
Though Firstenberg claims he is an expert on the subject of electromagnetic radiation and health, he did not graduate medical school and has been involved in a number of controversial conspiracy theories. For example, he claims that 5G caused the COVID-19 pandemic, a conspiracy which has been fact-checked repeatedly, including by MythDetector. See:
- Does 5g Pose A Threat And Is This Technology Linked To Covid-19?
- Close Human Contact Or 5g Network – Where Does The Corona Spread From?
The other two posts shared a video supposedly taken on 21 July 2022 near Scottsdale, Arizona showing a 5G cell phone tower disguised as a cactus. In the two-minute video, a man shows an up close look of the fake cactus and how it is painted to blend into the landscape around it. However, though the Facebook users claim this is a ploy to hide 5G from American citizens, in fact this is a very common technique that has been used for decades to make ugly infrastructure more acceptable and appealing aesthetically to the general population.
California, for example, has hundreds of cell phone towers disguised (not so well) as palm trees. This method of concealment became popular due to a peculiarity in the telecommunications law: municipalities generally cannot reject a cellular carrier’s request for a new tower, but they can require it be concealed. The city of Los Angeles, for instance, requires that wireless telecommunications facilities “have the least possible visual impact on the environment,” and mandates that towers be designed with stealth techniques, including designing them as faux water towers, rock formations, windmills, and, of course, trees. In Arizona, cacti became the go-to aesthetic option due to the number of native cacti in the region.
While there are some reasons to conceal cell phone towers for security reasons — some groups in the UK have vandalised 5G street lights over fears about health risks and conspiracy theories that it’s linked to Covid-19 — the main reason is aesthetics.
You can read other fact-checks by Myth Detector surrounding 5G here:
- Did Britain Ban Huawei From 5g Network?
- Has The 5g Technology Been Stopped In Europe And The United States?
- How Is 5g Linked To The Withering Of Trees, Diseases, And Domestic Violence?
- High Levels Of Radiation Or Chinese Intelligence – Why Did Sweden Ban Chinese Suppliers Of 5g Networks
- Are There 5g Antennas In Tbilisi?
Erasmus CEERES Master’s student, Intern at Myth Detector
The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.