Thursday, 27 May 2021
Facebook will no longer ban the publication of theories claiming that Covid-19 was man-made, as the hypothesis of a laboratory accident in China returns to the American debate.
“In light of current investigations into the origins of Covid-19 and in consultation with health experts, we will no longer remove from our platforms claims that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured,” the group, which also owns the social media platform Instagram, said on its website on Wednesday.
The social network, used by some 3.45 billion people on at least one of its four platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp) is changing its previous rules on disinformation during the coronavirus pandemic, which were updated last February.
At that time, they provided for a ban on theories suggesting humans were behind the virus, as well as the alleged ineffectiveness of vaccines or the fact that coronavirus vaccines could be toxic or dangerous.
“We continue to work with experts to monitor the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge,” Facebook said.
At the same time, the theory of a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China, has come back into the American debate in recent weeks after having long been dismissed by most experts.
US President Joe Biden called on American intelligence agencies on Wednesday to “redouble their efforts” to explain the origin of Covid-19, and demanded a report within 90 days.
Biden recalled that the work of the American intelligence community, which focused on two hypotheses (original animal or escape from a laboratory), did not make it possible yet to arrive at “a definitive conclusion.”
After a four-week visit to Wuhan earlier this year, a joint study by WHO and Chinese experts deemed a laboratory accident “extremely unlikely” in March.
The US and 13 allied countries subsequently expressed “concern” in a joint statement about the report, demanding that China provide full access to its data.
The first cases of Covid-19 were identified at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, before the virus went on to spread across the globe and kill nearly 3.5 million people and counting.
The Brussels Times