Facebook has announced a change in its policy about labelling Covid-19 posts, as pressure grows to find out where the Coronavirus pandemic originated.
The prevailing theory had been Covid-19 began, when it jumped from bats to humans in China, after the first cases had first appeared in a Wuhan fish market.
Facebook posts of Covid-19 allegedly leaking from a ‘Wuhan lab’ were on the other hand labelled as ‘conspiracy theory’, after Facebook in April last year clamped down on what it deemed ‘harmful misinformation’.
But a year later and things are changing, and Facebook will no longer take down posts claiming that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured.
“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 or manufactured from our apps,” said Facebook in an updated blog post.
“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,” it added.
It should be noted that Facebook has changed its policy due to a number of significant developments.
In January, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report concluded that the virus was likely to have originated naturally.
But this raised questions among critics, who pointed out that Beijing had strictly controlled an on-site visit by officials, and also controlled who the researchers could speak to.
The WHO team was also only allowed three hours inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology and were unable to examine any of the Wuhan institute’s safety logs, or records of testing on its staff.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said that the visit was inconclusive, adding that ‘all hypotheses are open’ and warranted future study.
Another development came when Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Trump’s and then President Biden’s chief medical adviser, announced his support of open investigation of the coronavirus origins, saying earlier this month he is “not convinced” it developed naturally.
Indeed Fauci had accepted that the idea of the virus escaping from a lab had been too quickly dismissed, it is reported.
Asked whether the virus originated naturally, Fauci replied that he wants to look closer into the matter.
“I am not convinced about that,” he reportedly said. “I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.”
Then the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that workers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalised with an illness that resembled Covid-19 – weeks before the coronavirus would begin ravaging China and then the world.
This resulted in US President Joe Biden this week ordering US intelligence agencies to launch a probe into whether Coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – a lab the US has previously raised safety concerns about several years before.
Biden asked US intelligence agencies to report back within 90 days.
He called on China to cooperate with international probes into the origins of the pandemic.
It should be noted that President Trump had first stated that the ‘China Virus’ had come from the Wuhan lab, but his claim had been dismissed by many in the media and officialdom.
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