In an abrupt about-face, Facebook has decided to no longer censor content that asserts coronavirus is man-made or engineered.
This refers to claims that the virus did not originate in nature but was manufactured and leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.
After labeling such posts as conspiracy theories and misinformation and vigorously removing them, Facebook is once again flexing its muscle as the arbiter of truth to suddenly start allowing this type of content.
At the same time, the social media juggernaut is taking cues from the current administration in Washington, that is now asking for an investigation into the issue of the origin of coronavirus.
All this is taking place after the Wall Street Journal published a report citing US intelligence sources, which said that three Wuhan lab scientists had to be hospitalized with Covid symptoms months before the pandemic broke out. President Biden on Wednesday announced that he tasked US intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of the virus and come up with a report within three months.
But the Facebook spokesperson put the emphasis on the company “consulting with health officials” before making the decision to stop censoring claims that coronavirus is man-made.
They also said that investigations now taking place have influenced the move, and that the company will continue to keep up with “the evolving nature of the pandemic” and change policies depending on “new facts and trends,” all the while working with health experts.
Previously, posts that said the virus did not appear naturally got removed according to a list of claims that Facebook considers to be debunked conspiracy theories.
Twitter is another social media platform that censors posts questioning the origin of coronavirus, and it remains to be seen if it and YouTube will follow Facebook in reversing censorship rules concerning Wuhan lab-leak claims.