Fact-check: Are circuit boards with ‘COV 19’ engraving being installed on 5G towers? – Alt News


A video of a man presenting himself as a telecom engineer and showing equipment labelled ‘COV-19’ to be installed in 5G towers is doing the rounds on WhatsApp. The man in the video can be heard claiming that he is erecting 5G masts when everyone is indoors due to lockdowns. Later in the video, he shows a circuit board and points that it has ‘COV 19’ imprinted. “We don’t crack open these kits because we are explicitly asked not to,” he says. Alt News received several requests on its official mobile application and WhatsApp number (+917600011160) to fact-check the video.

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The message shared along with the video reads, “This person is a labourer working on a 5G tower. He had to repair a technical fault on this 5G tower and he was specifically told not to open and see the plate. He went against the order and risked his job. When he opened the plate, he saw a chip of Covid-19 in it.”

[Translated from Hindi: “यह शख्स 5 G टॉवर पे काम करने वाला लेबर है इस 5 G टावर पर टैक्निकल खराबी पर रिपेयरिंग करना था और खास तौर पर मना किया गया था एक प्लेट को खोलकर नही देखना है उस ने हुक्म की खिलाफ वरजी की और अपनी नौकरी को दाव पे लगा के उस प्लेट को खोलकर देखा तो उस मे Covid-19 की चिप नजर आई उस से साफ जाहिर होता है के इंसानियत के खिलाफ कुछ ना कुछ साजिश जरुर चल रही है।”]

The video has been circulating since last year.

A few users had also posted a screenshot of the circuit board that purportedly says ‘COV 19’.

Fact-check

The video was created by documentary maker Heydon Prowse last year in June. The video does not promote a conspiracy theory but shows how easy it is to start one.

Prowse is the editor-in-chief of Don’t Panic London, a creative agency specialising in viral content. Don’t Panic London had uploaded the full video of his experiment on its YouTube channel. The video shows him paste ‘COV 19’ on the plate.

Reuters had published a fact-check report on the video on May 16, 2020. The outlet said that the circuit board featured in the video is an old Virgin Media TV box. In one of the frames in the video towards the end, one can spot the casing of this circuit placed on the bonnet of a van.

A company spokesperson from Virgin Media informed Reuters, “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.”

Ireland-based The Journal also quoted Virgin Media stating that the company “circuit board looked like a Cisco 4585 HD card which they began distributing to customers around 2011”.

Source: Virgin Media Press office via The Journal

The claim that circuit boards with the engraving ‘COV 19’ are getting installed on 5G towers is false. The video was created last year by a London-based documentary maker as an experiment to show how easy it is to promote viral conspiracy theories.

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