Some of the third-party fact-checkers Facebook hires don’t appear to be trustworthy judges.
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson said that she discovered Facebook is censoring a documentary looking into whether coronavirus might have originated in a Wuhan lab, by using a fact-checker who “worked at Wuhan lab with Chinese communists.”
Attkisson accuses Facebook of essentially using fake experts in “fighting” fake news – adding also a screenshot of a disclaimer by Danielle E. Anderson, the expert approached for the fact-checker in question.
Anderson, who is assistant professor at Duke-NUS Medical School, states that she has worked on collaborative projects with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
“I have worked in this exact laboratory at various times for the past 2 years,” Anderson says, then praises the lab’s control and containment measures and its staff’s professionalism.
But Facebook itself makes no such disclosure that the expect supposedly debunking the claims has ties to lab that’s being accused of a coverup – instead merely says that the documentary is a false story.
The film in question is the work of the Epoch Times’ senior investigative reporter Joshua Philipp, and promises to be looking into what is known about the virus and the pandemic caused by it.
The documentary explores the way the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has handled the crisis since the outbreak of coronavirus, to conclude that it engaged in cover-up that in the end led to the pandemic that has paralyzed much of the world.
Philipp claims to have used scientific data and interviewed both high-ranking scientists and national security figures to make his conclusions.
One of the more striking ones is that CCP’s claim the virus originated in a wet market in Wuhan was not true – and that the powerful party itself admitted as much when it changed the official version to say that the virus was introduced to China by the US military.
However, the outlet that produced the documentary says it is not drawing any conclusions as to where the virus actually came from – which they say remains a mystery, although it is referred to in the article as “the CCP virus”.
Instead, said the Epoch Times, the documentary is merely attempting to shed light on CCP’s behavior in the crisis and its consequences.
The notion that coronavirus – the second iteration of the SARS virus, formally designated SARS-CoV-2 – had something to do with research carried out in the Wuhan Institute of Virology is not new.
Even before the pandemic reached and struck the US, a number of media outlets were exploring this possibility, looking into the Chinese government’s directives around the handling of pathogens in labs to conclude that the virus had effectively “escaped” from it – instead of originating in wild animals that are eaten in this part of China.
Back in February, reports focused on two points: the claims that security and safety protocols were bad at the Wuhan lab to the point of allowing the virus to find its way out into the world.
And that the virus itself is not natural but engineered as part of research in what is described as a bioweapon lab.
However, Health Feedback would have none of it.
This fact-checker said at the time that there was no evidence of either poor biosecurity in the lab that could have caused the leak of the virus, or that it may have spread thanks to “lab animals sold or consumed.”
In addition, multiple studies are referred to, to say that the COVID-19-causing virus has “the strongest genetic similarity to coronaviruses isolated from bats living in the wild.”
But two months later, reports are saying that this very scenario is now a possibility that US authorities are looking into, and what that the UK government have been speculating about for some time – namely, “that the novel coronavirus spread from a Chinese laboratory rather than a market.”
This is according to even CNN, which bases its story on sources and qualifies the claim of US national security officials now considering this possibility as one of many theories explored in a bid to understand where the virus originated.
Specifically, the goal is to determine if the virus might have been contained in the Wuhan lab and accidentally leaked.
But the same report mentions the US doesn’t think the purpose of the research in the lab was to create a bioweapon, and that there is also no evidence at this time that it was created by humans.
The report also mentions that China officially continues to claim that the virus is of natural origin, having come from wild animals, and backs that position up by quoting the World Health Organization (WHO).