With lack of common sense being very common, social media messages linking the 5G technology with the spread of COVID-19 have gone viral. Now, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has requested the Union government to remove such misleading social media posts.
The association comprises Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Although there are no 5G towers in India, the operators, which have a keen interest in starting 5G services in the future, have termed the viral messages as “baseless”.
COAI has written to the information technology ministry to urge social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to remove such posts.
What COAI said
COAI director general SP Kochhar in a letter to the Union ministry’s additional secretary Rajendra Kumar said: “To safeguard the national interest, we request your good office to kindly instruct all the social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc, to remove all such posts and misleading campaigns from their platforms on an urgent basis.”
“Video messages shared on social media show that people who are convinced about the authenticity of these messages wish to destroy telecom towers in India. We would hereby like to highlight that these types of rumours have spread over the past two weeks, mainly in semi-urban and rural areas.”
“There has been a rise in such misinformation mainly in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab. We are concerned that this misleading and false claim/information might spread to other parts of the country as well,” Kochhar said.
DoT refuted claim
Earlier, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had rejected messages linking the COVID-19 pandemic to the 5G technology as false and said it has no scientific basis.
“Moreover, it is informed that the testing of the 5G network has not yet started anywhere in India. Hence, the claim that 5G trials or networks are causing coronavirus in India is baseless and false,” the DoT had said.
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