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Video does not show 5G pole being torn down in China

April 3, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows people in China taking down 5G poles to “cure coronavirus.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was filmed on August 24 during protests in Hong Kong. Protesters are taking down a so-called smart lamppost, which people allege contain cameras and sensors. 

THE FACTS: A video circulated on Facebook with the false claim that it shows people in China tearing down a 5G pole, implying China “found the cure” to coronavirus.  

In the video, people who are wearing masks and holding umbrellas are recorded while pulling down a lamp post. 

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The video was also posted on Instagram with the false caption: “The Chinese are destroying the 5G poles as they are aware that it is the thing triggering the Corona syndrome. But international news not showing this.”

For months there have been conspiracy theories floating the idea that 5G was behind the virus. China was rolling out 5G cellular service around the same time that coronavirus cases spiked in the country. Fifth-generation cellular networks promise fast download speeds for smartphone users. The new technology also presents some security challenges since 5G sensors will be embedded into many devices like thermostats and medical sensors. 

In reality, the video was filmed in Hong Kong on August 24. According to AP reporting, protesters on that day targeted smart lamp posts, which people feared contained cameras and sensors. A search on Google Earth shows the video was filmed outside a large shopping mall called MegaBox, which is located on Lam Fung Street in Hong Kong.  

AP photographer Kin Cheung was at the scene and captured the incident. Umbrellas captured in Cheung’s image match those in the video. 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536