Facebook Lifts Censorship of Posts about Possible Manmade Origins of COVID-19
Big Tech giants lifts ban as Chinese lab-leak theory gains traction
Facebook is lifting its ban on posts about COVID-19 potentially being manmade and will limit censorship of theories about the coronavirus possibly originating from a Chinese Communist Party laboratory.
The move comes as support continues to mount for investigations into the theory that the virus leaked from a Wuhan lab.
Facebook initially put the ban into place on February 8 after the social media giant consulted the World Health Organization (WHO).
Now, the ban will be removed to allow debate around the true origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, “in light of ongoing investigations.”
Claims that COVID-19 was manmade were blocked from appearing on Facebook and targetted by "fact-checkers" as "false information," despite the lab-leak theory never being disproven.
Posts about China's role in the origins of the coronavirus were a list alongside false information like assertions that the virus doesn’t exist or that the vaccines cause autism, according to The Daily Caller.
A number of articles and posts about the lab-leak theory, which was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory by corporate media, were flagged and deleted by Facebook until now.
Facebook has taken an aggressive stance toward alleged disinformation during the pandemic, stating that it put warning labels on more than 50 million pieces of content in the month of April 2020 alone based on articles from “independent fact-checkers.”
Some of those fact-checkers, such as PolitiFact, are now retracting fact-checks that declared the lab-leak theory to be debunked.
In the wake of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, liberal media "fact-checkers" were quick to label reporters and lawmakers who supported the lab leak theory as conspiracy theorists.
"Fact-checkers" repeatedly labeled comments and reporting that referenced evidence of a lab leak theory — the hypothesis that coronavirus came from a Wuhan, China lab instead of a food market — as harmful misinformation.
Recently, however, evidence that three Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers were hospitalized with an unknown illness in November 2019, has been revealed suggesting the theory isn’t baseless.
“Beijing has claimed that the virus originated in a Wuhan ‘wet market,’ where wild animals were sold,” Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton wrote in an April 2020 Wall Street Journal editorial.
“But evidence to counter this theory emerged in January.”
“This evidence is circumstantial, to be sure, but it all points toward the Wuhan labs,” he said.
“Thanks to the Chinese coverup, we may never have direct, conclusive evidence—intelligence rarely works that way—but Americans justifiably can use common sense to follow the inherent logic of events to their likely conclusion.”
In response, Cotton was labeled a conspiracy theorist by many liberal outlets, which dismissed his arguments, according to The Daily Caller.
A Vanity Fair article accused Cotton of adding a “scary new layer to Donald Trump’s blame-China strategy,” the BBC reported that his claims were “unfounded” and a Snopes "fact check" characterized his allegations as “speculative.”
President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were also criticized for bringing attention to the lab leak theory.
Washington Post fact check editor Glenn Kessler criticized Cruz in May 2020 after the senator suggested the virus might’ve leaked from the Wuhan lab. Kessler said it was “virtually impossible” the virus jumped from the lab.
“We deal in facts, and viewers can judge for themselves,” Kessler added.
Altogether, The NYT, Reuters, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC News, NPR, PolitiFact, Snopes, The Guardian, Vox, Vanity Fair, and other left-wing "fact-checkers" all published articles casting doubt on the lab leak theory.
Some have recently posted editor’s notes, backtracking on their original reporting.
While liberal news outlets and "fact-checkers" repeatedly downplayed both the lab leak theory and those who supported it, outlets like The Washington Times and Daily Caller News Foundation investigated the theory rather than dismissing it.
But Facebook suppressed such reporting by labeling it with a “False Information” tag, according to various outlets.
The social media platform’s "fact-checkers" also labeled a Washington Times article as "false," which has since been confirmed by other outlets, reporter Bill Gertz recently said.