Why are there so many conspiracies about 5G in particular, but not for preexisting cellphone networks?


Why are there so many conspiracies about 5G in particular, but not for preexisting cellphone networks?

In: Technology

People can be made afraid of things they don’t understand. Existing cell phone networks generally aren’t something people fear because they have been around for a while and apparently haven’t been causing harm. You can’t argue a cell tower that has been standing for ten years is going to turn someone’s brain to jelly, because why hasn’t it already? But people might believe new technology they have never encountered can cause such harm.

Lots of 5G talking points are about a ‘HUGE INCREASE IN BANDWIDTH’ or the ‘ABILITY TO CONNECT 100x MORE DEVICES’, which can come off as increasing exposure to more powerful radiofrequencies. In reality, 5G wavelengths are less penetrative and MUCH more narrow (power spread over less than 1 degree vs. LTE 10+ degrees) but I don’t think people with strong negative opinion on the technology understand it very well.

Just a few assumptions: Some people are fed up with technology, don’t understand it, don’t want to pay for it. It’s not like microwaves hadn’t the same issue to deal with. Radiation is generally “bad” since radioactivity and the sun is also radiation. Nowadays it seems such information gets thrown around much easier and is believed more strongly since everyone is an expert and internet is source of truth. Lastly we were lied to before: with the new generation we will have speeds of “UP TO” XXX Mb/s and only got X Mb/s so this harsh “no thanks” is kinda understandable.

Basically all new techs have some kind of conspiracy nutters (I’ve still got a non-gmo, anti-microwave aunt). Same thing happened with cell phones, and WiFi, and every tech that can’t be seen.

The only reason the 5G conspiracy is more common is that a significant portion of the US has recently taken a departure from reality. The formerly tiny corner of the internet that substitutes is own reality went from a fringe to now a significant portion. That means that more people with low passive critical thinking abilities are seeing hubbub about something they don’t understand…and only see the conspiracies instead of the scientists saying “it’s just non-visible light”.

Because 5G is new. When cell towers first went in, people thought they caused cancer. Same with power lines. Hell, when bicycles became a thing, people thought they’d give you gall stones.

Side note to what everyone else is saying: a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory are different things. A conspiracy is an actual crime with a legal definition where multiple people are orchestrating a crime. A conspiracy theory is a term that’s almost always a in reference to a crack pot taking circumstantial evidence (or none at all) and saying it’s proof of an actual conspiracy.

There was a lot of conspiracies about pre-existing cellphone network. A decade or so ago cellphone cause cancer was the big one. It happen everything there is a new technology with scary sounding name like radiation.

For 5G in particular, it’s because it use higher energy wavelength than standard cellphone network. In actuality, the different in energy vary a lot, 5G isn’t just one wavelength and some used in 5G are not that higher than standard cellphone network.

But higher energy radiation seem scary and the tech use more tower than the standard network, so it sound scary and here we are.

Unscientific answer:

There WAS 4g conspiracies also, same with 3g, etc. It’s just so long ago that nobody remembers. Also, I imagine that the social media age made this one a lot more widespread.