Facebook is walking back its censorship of users who promote the theory that the COVID-19 virus originated in a Wuhan, China, lab as the concept picks up steam around the country.
According to Politico, a Facebook representative said the tech giant pulled the “origin language” from its list of “misleading health claims” on Wednesday following resurging skepticism surrounding the virus’ origin.
“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,” the representative said.
“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 “policy tweak” also comes after a Wall Street Journal report this week that said three scientists at the highly suspect Wuhan Virology Institute were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in late 2019.
For over a year, any notion that the virus’ origins were suspicious was dismissed as conspiratorial fodder.
But as developments continually surface, the idea seems increasingly likely.
President Joe Biden said in a statement on Wednesday he has ordered the intelligence community to further investigate the virus’ origin and report back to his administration in 90 days.
Biden also said the animal-to-human transmission theory and the laboratory leak theory have split the intelligence community.
New attention the laboratory leak theory has garnered now allows for a more open COVID discourse on various platforms — a discourse that should have been allowed and encouraged from the start.
Facebook’s notorious history of slapping bans on users whose views are deemed “problematic” or censoring their posts has proved to be suppressive and valueless yet again.
Nicholas Wade, a scientific reporter, published an article on Medium earlier this month as to how COVID-19 originated.
“It’s important to note that so far there is no direct evidence for either theory,” Wade said. “Each depends on a set of reasonable conjectures but so far lacks proof. So I have only clues, not conclusions, to offer.”
After examining what is known about both theories, he wrote, “Natural emergence remained a conjecture which, however plausible to begin with, had gained not a shred of supporting evidence in over a year. And as long as that remains the case, it’s logical to pay serious attention to the alternative conjecture, that SARS2 escaped from a lab.”
At the time, Facebook censored the article.
After jumping to censor articles or posts even hinting at the laboratory leak theory, recent developments prove this Facebook policy should have never been implemented.
Without any conclusive evidence to support either the animal-to-human transmission or laboratory leak theories, the tech giant should not have rushed to censor free discussion surrounding the virus’s origin.
The company proved eager to dismiss any narrative from Republicans such as former President Donald Trump, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, including the lab leak theory.
And yet again, politically motivated censorship proves flawed.
Facebook should be embarrassed for the unreasonable censorship that has plagued the platform for so long.
And now that the tech giant has to backtrack on such a crucial part of its touted COVID narrative, one can only hope that it will stop the practice.
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