Anti-vax conspiracists believe a phone alert will trigger zombie apocalypse

A wild conspiracy is circulating online  (Pexels)
A wild conspiracy is circulating online (Pexels)

Conspiracy theorists in the US reportedly believe that an emergency alert system is going to turn people into zombies. Yes, really.

In the US, a government agency is testing an emergency alert system that will send an alert to everyone’s smartphones, similar to the emergency alert system that was tested in the UK in April.

The purpose of the alert system is to make the public aware of emergencies or disasters. However, QAnon conspiracy theorists have fabricated an unhinged theory around the alarm test.

They believe the system will trigger a reaction in people who have had the Covid vaccine, turning them into zombies.

According to Rolling Stone, a QAnon influencer shared a post on the social media platform Telegram, which falsely claimed that Covid vaccines contained the Marburg virus, which will be released by 5G.

(Marburg is a virus disease similar to Ebola. There were several outbreaks across countries in Africa earlier this year.)

The conspiracy theory is now circulating on other platforms, such as X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok, while Reddit users are sharing messages from people in their lives who believe the misinformation.

One widely viewed post on the social media platform X reads: “Turn off your cell phones on October 4. The EBS is going to ‘test’ the system using 5G.

“This will activate the Marburg virus in people who have been vaccinated. And sadly turn some of them into zombies.”

A Reddit user has claimed his landlord is shutting off the power for the whole building, because he believes the alert test will damage all appliances.

The text messages also recommended that his tenants wrap their phone in tin foil, and avoid looking at screens in the hours around the alert, “because light can also be turned against us”.

He also claimed that the test “may even be potentially fatal” for vaccinated people.

Other wild theories suggest that the entire internet will be shut down, including online banking, and that “they” want people to turn their phones off so they can’t call for help when “they” attack.

Anti-5G conspiracy theories emerged during the Covid pandemic in 2020, with a number of public figures among those spreading false information about 5G being able to spread coronavirus, or that the symptoms were caused by radiation.

The conspiracy saw phone masts in UK cities set alight and prompted Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, to call the claims “absolute and utter rubbish”.

Conspiracy theories also emerged around the coronavirus vaccines, including one that purported that the vaccines contained microchips that would be activated by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

While it’s easy to dismiss the conspiracy theories as deranged social media rumours, the spread of misinformation can have a tangible effect on society.

It was reported in July 2020 that one in six Britons said they would refuse a Covid vaccine, amid a rise in anti-vaccination sentiment online.

In addition, research by Kingston University experts has shown that Covid vaccine uptake in the Black community was “impacted by conspiracy theories and racial inequality”.