The operator said its primary goal would be to help eliminate misinformation surrounding 5G

Grossly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, misinformation surrounding 5G continues to flourish, with conspiracy theories even linking it to the virus itself. Arson attacks on 5G towers (and in some cases, 4G towers mistaken for 5G) continue to take place across the UK and more broadly around the world.
While many have been quick to speak up about the misinformation surrounding 5G online, direct action has been somewhat minimal.
Now, however, O2 is becoming the first operator to join the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN), a coalition of around 70 organisations working with the UK government to help eliminate ‘fake news’ and encourage ethical practise in advertising. 
CAN’s goal can be divided into six manifestos: anti ad-fraud, diversity, informed consent, hate speech, children’s wellbeing, and fake news. It is the latter of these that most overtly impacts the telecoms industry.
“As the first network operator to join CAN we are marking our commitment to helping the industry establish clear ethics and practices that positively impact customers’ lives and wellbeing,” said O2 CMO, Nina Bibby. “The misinformation around 5G is just one example of the damage that fake news can cause. As a provider of technology, it is our responsibility to ensure it is used as a positive force for good and we look forward to working together with CAN to help tackle these industry challenges.”
5G has a tumultuous relationship with advertising in general. As part of the great surge to push 5G technology into the public eye, many advertising campaigns have fallen foul of ad regulators around the world. Earlier this year, Three was reprimanded for its ‘If it’s not Three, it’s not real 5G’ slogan, while AT&T has come under fire for marketing its so-called 5GE network, which in fact is not 5G at all. 
As technology continues to advance at an incredible pace, the general public are forever at risk of being left behind, leaving them vulnerable to disingenuous advertising and fake news. The telecoms industry must work to improve the way it advertises the latest technology, and collaborating with a group like CAN is a good start.
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