On Wednesday, Facebook ended its ban on posts claiming that COVID-19 was man-made, a spokesman told Politico. Facebook had previously decreed that the man-made virus theory had been debunked.
“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,” Facebook said in a 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.”
Last May, President Donald Trump said he’d seen evidence that COVID-19 was man-made and originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Dr. Anthony Fauci promptly disputed the president’s claim.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,” Fauci said a few days after Trump’s comments. “Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.”
“If you accept the premise, which is very strongly supported by scientific evidence, that it was not deliberately mutated and deliberately changed, and you say, if it was in the wild and evolving, the likelihood it jumped species naturally, someone will say, ‘Well, maybe somebody took it from the wild, put it in the lab, and then it escaped from the lab.’ But that means it was in the wild to begin with!” he added.
Now there have been numerous public calls for investigations into the origins of the virus after a House GOP report provided “overwhelming” evidence that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology as early as October 2019 and The Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had developed severe COVID-like symptoms in November 2019.
While it is welcome news that Facebook has reversed its policy, perhaps the bigger issue here is that Facebook’s policy was wrong. Not just because it was incorrect but because Facebook shouldn’t be in the business of curating content and making decisions as to what people can and cannot read. This reversal is an indictment of Facebook’s entire content-moderation effort, which they say is meant to curb the spread of fake news when, in actuality, it was meant to curb inconvenient news.