Facebook will no longer remove posts claiming that humans created the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease. The company is changing its position in light of the ongoing investigations into the origin of coronavirus by the United States government.
Social media officials said in February this year that they added to the list of “false claims” they would remove, saying that COVID-19 was created by humans or that it had been made artificially. They have done so in consultation with leading health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
But that is changing now.
“In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps. We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge,” wrote Facebook on its website.
Recently, some findings have emerged that put the question of the origin of the global pandemic from a new perspective. The theory that the virus escaped into the world from a Chinese laboratory is gaining in probability. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that in November 2019, three researchers at the Virology Institute in Wuhan where COVID-19 was first recorded, were admitted to the hospital with covid-like symptoms. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the report on the disease of staff at the Virology Institute was untrue.
“The United States continues to exaggerate the theory of a virus leak from the laboratory,” he said.
In early May, an esteemed science journalist, Nicholas Wade, who previously was the head of the New York Times science section, also published an article discussing the possible origins of COVID-19. In it, Wade states that although there is no direct evidence that the coronavirus originated in the laboratory and may have occurred naturally in nature, circumstantial evidence suggests that a variant of virus production in the laboratory is much more likely. He also pointed to flaws in research which claimed that there was very little possibility the virus was man-made and criticized science journalists who he said blindly supported the findings of that research.
US President Joe Biden announced that he has asked US intelligence services to “redouble their efforts” to definitively clarify the beginning of the spread of COVID-19. He reportedly received a summary of current findings from intelligence services this month and now wants another report within 90 days. The United States, along with partners around the world, will also urge China to participate in a “transparent, evidence-based international investigation” and make all relevant information available. Chinese diplomacy spokesman Chao Lijian subsequently accused the United States of politicizing the whole affair and trying to blame the pandemic on China.
Title image: The Facebook app is shown on a smart phone, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Facebook says, Thursday, May 27, it will no longer remove claims that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from its apps. The change comes “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts,” Facebook said. .(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)