Facebook Announces That It Will No Longer Censor Posts Pointing To Wuhan Lab As Source Of Covid-19 Virus Leak
Social media behemoth Facebook will no censor posts claiming that COVID-19 outbreak was the result of virus leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, Politico reported quoting Facebook officials.
The new moderation policy by Facebook represents a significant departure from the policy the company had adopted. In February this year, the company announced it would take down what it described as false and misleading health claims including those suggesting that “COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured.” The company claimed that it maintains a list of debunked assertions during the pandemic in consultation with global health advisers.
Politico quoted the Facebook representative as saying that the will no longer treat online content about the lab-leak theory as a qualifying misleading claim amid recent debate over the virus’s origins.
“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 from our apps,” the company spokesperson stated in an emailed statement. “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.”
Wuhan lab-leak theory, once derisively dismissed as a fringe conspiracy theory, is now being viewed as credible after several pointers have emerged that the virus could have potentially escaped from the Chinese lab.
According to a recent report in Wall Street Journal reported, three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in late 2019 with symptoms consistent with the virus.
Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden announced that he has directed intelligence agencies to “redouble” its efforts to discover the root cause of the virus and deliver its findings within 90 days.
Facebook is the first among the prominent social media companies that has now revisited it rules on posting on the origins of the pandemic as the Wuhan lab-leak theory gains attention.
Politico also quoted YouTube spokesperson as confirming in a statement that claims tat the virus was man-made or originated in a lab accident do not violate the platform's policies because "there has not been consensus" on its origins. So the company's policy remains unchanged.
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