Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has said that it will not be bringing down posts claiming that COVID-19 was man-made on its platforms. This comes after President Joe Biden’s announcement that he had urged the US intelligence agency to increase its efforts in investigating Covid-19’s origins.
Facebook will not censure claims that Coronavirus was man-made
On Wednesday, a Facebook spokesperson said, “In light of continuing investigations into the coronavirus’ origin and in consultation with public health experts, the company will no longer remove claims that Covid-19 was man-made its platforms.” The spokesperson added that they will continue engaging health professionals to stay on top of the pandemic’s shifting nature. Most importantly, Facebook is updating its policies daily to keep up with the emergence of new facts and patterns.
This massive decision demonstrates how social media companies struggle to find a middle ground between guarding the public against dangerous disinformation while allowing for healthy debates on controversial topics. Interestingly this is not the company’s first policy reversal. Last year, Facebook reversed course on Holocaust denial, censoring anything that denies the Holocaust following CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s defense of people’s rights.
New details from Wuhan China suggest COVID-19 was man-made
There have been theories that the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, was man-made. However, the scientific community has long disregarded this as a destructive conspiracy, but the claims have lately been revived due to new results. The new developments include announcing that three Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers were sick enough in November 2019, warranting hospitalization. President Biden gave US investigators 90 days to get to the bottom of the coronavirus origin. The new details about the hospitalization of the researchers fuelled pressure on President Biden to get into the bottom of the virus’ origin.
The reopening of the debate highlights challenging issues for the social media company since such claims have been associated with an anti-Asian sentiment wave. Technology and Social Change research project at Shorenstein Centre on Media research director Joan Donovan said that the lab theory could trigger anti-Asian sentiment on Facebook.