Facebook will no longer remove posts on its platform asserting COVID-19 was man-made, a new report said, as President Biden on Wednesday ordered US intelligence agencies to investigate if the virus came from a Chinese lab.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told Politico.
“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,” the spokesperson told the outlet.
Facebook in February had banned posts claiming that “COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured. The site’s fact-checkers slapped a “False Information” notification over shares of a Feb. 23 Post op-ed by Steven Mosher, which said that the US couldn’t trust China’s story about the origins of COVID-19 and argued the virus might have escaped from a lab in Wuhan.
The social media giant’s reversal comes as the lab leak theory is gaining steam, amplified by a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that said three workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 with coronavirus-like systems.
Their illnesses came shortly before the first officially reported COVID-19 cases.
Biden earlier Wednesday said there are two predominant theories in the US on how the virus originated.
Those theories are that the virus emerged naturally from animals or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.