With the Corona pandemic, the myths surrounding the 5G mobile phone standard have become even more prevalent. Also in Switzerland. Today, Higgs took a look at the anti-5G scene – and at its slide into dubious milieus.
The article shows in detail how dubious forces, some of whom are making money out of it, are constantly creating new conspiracy myths, and how people who call themselves experts are either spreading false information or continuing to spread it unchecked. (However, Higgs has also made a mistake: instead of 28 February, the article states that the special situation in Switzerland was proclaimed on 8 March. We have brought this to the attention of the editors and the error will be corrected. In this respect, even a serious source differs from an opaque one: Sources are listed and errors are corrected. If you are looking for a tool for the fact-check, you can use our infographics).
Eye-opening is especially this passage:
He says that the actors responsible for these theories waged a permanent information war on the net, constantly integrating new topics. Decker refers to a report that the retired Air Force Colonel Richard Szapranski wrote back in 1995. In it, the author predicted that dependence on information would lead to an attack on society’s belief and knowledge systems – in particular, scientific credibility would suffer. According to Decker, we are thus in a digital war, in which the actors exploit the dynamics and algorithms of the networks to permanently broadcast their own ideologically-driven interpretation of reality to the world and recruit or radicalise members.
New conspiracy theories often do not emerge in the easily locatable parts of the Internet, but in its depths – for example in anonymous forums like 4Chan. “People who create new theories on such channels do not necessarily believe in them themselves,” says Marc Tuters. He is assistant professor at the Department of New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. “But these people like to see their theories spread. They enjoy social chaos. Tuters has done research on forums like 4Chan and Reddit and founded the Open Intelligence Lab, which has developed an analysis tool for these platforms. The tool has also used higgs for this research. As Tuters says, 4Chan in particular has become a hotbed of conspiracy theories – particularly popular in right-wing circles. This is also where the QAnon movement, for example, which disseminates crude theories and is currently leading the way in the Corona pandemic, came into being. From the rather obscure channels, the theories then spill over to Reddit – and finally to YouTube.
There, major players choose the most suitable conspiracy theories from a large number of different ones, in order to continue their own propaganda war. No matter how far apart the topics may be, they are knitted into a new unified story and spread over countless channels. This was also the case with 5G.
According to Ben Decker, the year 2018 was decisive for the worldwide success of the conspiracy theories around 5G. And the driver of this development was also greed for profit. So conspiracy theorist John Kuhles jumped up and spread the message among tens of thousands of followers via his own YouTube videos. He created Stop 5G platforms and generated donations in this way – “donations” as Decker writes. Then other top shots of the scene came in, among them one of the most powerful conspiracy theorists in the USA, right-wing politicising Alex Jones. On his portal Infowars he published a steady stream of crude 5G conspiracy theories from May 2018 on. It was said, for example, that 5G was there to decimate the population. Also in May 2018 the QAnon movement took up the theories, as did the Russian propaganda channel RT America. With this, the topic had reached the highest level of digital warfare.
Also recommendable is today’s article “The new mobile radio standard 5G – a fact check“.
Finally this: it is striking how many conspiracy myths revolve around 5G. One might think that there are forces at work that specifically want to prevent us from renewing our mobile infrastructure. Is this just a new conspiracy myth or is there some truth to it?
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