Twitter is banning posts which encourage conspiracy theorists to attack 5G masts. 

The move from the social network comes as part of a wider effort to cut down on the amount of misinformation and ‘unverified claims’ about 5G circulating on the site.

Posts will be taken down if the public to engage in harmful activity, encourage vandalism of 5G infrastructure or lead to ‘widespread panic’. 

Twitter is making a concerted effort to clamp down on the 5G-related claims and it is also looking to curb the spread of all coronavirus-related misinformation. 

However, it has said it will not remove every tweet that ‘contains incomplete or disputed information’ about coronavirus.

It comes amid a spate of mast vandalism attacks across the country, driven by baseless conspiracy theories linking 5G to coronavirus shared on social media.

Over the Easter weekend, 20 incidents were recorded, including a suspected arson attack on a mast in east London as well as one serving Birmingham’s Nightingale Hospital.

Twitter said it would also address other claims which could lead to widespread panic, giving one example as: ‘The National Guard just announced that no more shipments of food will be arriving for two months – run to the grocery store ASAP and buy everything.’

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The firm said: ‘We have broadened our guidance on unverified claims that incite people to engage in harmful activity, could lead to the destruction or damage of critical 5G infrastructure, or could lead to widespread panic, social unrest, or large-scale disorder.’

It announced the reform on Twitter and, in a follow up tweet, said it had removed 2,230 tweets ‘containing misleading and potentially harmful content’ since it updated its policies on March 18. 

Mobile UK, the trade body representing network operators in the UK, welcomed the move, saying: ‘Mobile operators are dedicated to keeping the UK connected during this challenging time, and careless talk could cause untold damage.

‘Attacks on mobile infrastructure risks lives, and the UK’s critical sectors must be able to focus all their efforts fighting this pandemic.

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‘We welcome the work of social media companies to halt the spread of baseless theories that can lead to harmful and dangerous activity, including damage to critical mobile infrastructure.’

Social media firms are trying to help spread the spread of coronavirus misinformation, with WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter all making changes to eradicate lies and place legitimate information in prime spots. 

Twitter last month also decided to remove tweets that promote fake coronavirus treatments like ‘drinking bleach’, conspiracy theories that claim it’s ‘propaganda for soap companies’ and posts that deny scientific facts. 

Tweets that deny ‘established scientific facts’ and expert guidance regarding the virus will be marked as harmful and removed, the site said in a blog post

The company is also automatically deleting tweets that try to promote third parties, manipulate people into certain behaviour, or incite panic.

Parody accounts of respected authorities that suggest quarantine periods are over or suggest potentially dangerous treatments to cure COVID-19 will also be nixed. 

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The site, which has millions of active users, said it is increasing its use of machine learning to take actions against ‘abusive and manipulative’ posts. 

Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8249239/Twitter-acts-against-unverified-claims-inciting-5G-mast-attacks.html

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