Facebook is lifting its ban on posts claiming that COVID-19 was created in a lab. The announcement comes hours after President Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the virus Wednesday.
“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,” the statement said.
With the intent of curbing the spread of misinformation, the platform’s previous policy entailed removing posts that suggested the coronavirus emerged naturally from animals or was manufactured in a lab in Wuhan China.
However, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in late 2019 with symptoms consistent with the virus, lending sudden credibility to the latter theory.
Thus President Biden’s decision to “redouble” the efforts to determine how the devastating virus came to be. Biden also revealed that the intelligence community is split between two theories, “whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident,” and that the investigation will report back in 90 days.