Newschecker received a video showing a man filming himself wearing a hard hat and face mask. He holds up a circuit board with “COV-19” inscribed on it, and claims he’s been installing “5G masts”.
“I don’t know the best way to do this, but I’ve been working to erect 5G masts in towers like the one behind me…We don’t crack open these kits because we’re explicitly asked not to, but perhaps the best thing is for me to show you,” he says in the video. He further says, he is not aware of any company that “produces circuitry like this that has the brand name COV-19…I’ve read all that stuff online about coronavirus and COVID-19.”
Newschecker received multiple requests to verify this claim.
We found that this video has been circulating since last year. You can see a few examples here and here.
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Fact Check / Verification
The Associated Press (AP) published a factcheck on this claim on 21 May 2020. It wrote that the circuit board held by the man in the video is not part of 5G technology, but belongs to an old Virgin Media TV box. The casing of this circuit can be seen towards the end of the video on the van’s bonnet.
Spokesman for Virgin Media, Simon Dornan, confirmed with AP, “That is a board from a very old set top TV box, and which never featured any component parts inscribed/stamped/printed or otherwise with COV 19. It has absolutely no relation with any mobile network infrastructure, including that used for 5G.”
AltNews found the video was created by documentary maker Heydon Prowse last year. The video was made in an attempt to ridicule conspiracy theorists who believe that 5G is causing coronavirus, and also to show how easy it is to start a conspiracy theory.
Prowess is part of Don’t Panic London, a creative agency specialising in viral content for a social purpose. “In a world that has become so mad that it is impossible to parody, @DontPanic and I have turned our satirical hands to conspiracy theories instead. This is our attempt to vaccinate the world from the virus of fake news. Pls watch and share,” he tweeted.
The full video shows him explaining and pasting COV-19 on the circuit-like device.
In May 2020, a Twitter user debunked this video writing, “It’s fake, the circuit board is from an old TV set-top box (you can see it on his car) & label has been added by him.”
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The video of a man filming himself wearing a hard hat does not show COV-19 labelled circuit board ready to be fitted to a 5G mast. A London-based documentary maker created this video in an attempt to show how easy it is to start a conspiracy theory.
Associated Press: https://apnews.com/article/archive-fact-checking-8970130129
Heydon Prowse: https://twitter.com/HeydonProwse/status/1268948926310334471
Michelle Dickinson: https://twitter.com/medickinson/status/1261433068641869824?lang=en
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