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Facebook won’t block posts about covid-19 being man-made anymore

The change in Facebook’s stance on Wuhan lab-leak theory can raise debate around how the company creates its moderation policies (REUTERS)Premium
The change in Facebook’s stance on Wuhan lab-leak theory can raise debate around how the company creates its moderation policies (REUTERS)

  • The debate around the Wuhan lab-leak theory gained steam following a report by The Wall Street Journal on May 23, which said that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology had been brought to a hospital in November 2019, with symptoms similar to covid-19

NEW DELHI: Social media giant, Facebook, is changing its stance towards posts that allege the covid-19 virus was manufactured or man-made. According to a report by Politico, the company changed its policies, amidst mounting evidence that the “Wuhan lab-leak" theory wasn’t a conspiracy theory.

US President Joe Biden had ordered an intelligence probe into the origins of the virus yesterday. Biden said, in a statement, that agencies should "redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days."

The debate around the Wuhan lab-leak theory gained steam following a report by The Wall Street Journal on May 23, which said that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology had been brought to a hospital in November 2019, with symptoms similar to covid-19.

Facebook had included theories around covid-19 being man-made or manufactured in its list of false claims around the pandemic in February 2021. The full list of claims that Facebook blocks on its platforms are available here.

“We will begin enforcing this policy immediately, with a particular focus on pages, groups and accounts that violate these rules, and we’ll continue to expand our enforcement over the coming weeks," the company had said in February. “Groups, pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share these debunked claims may be removed altogether," the company added.

The change in Facebook’s stance could raise debate around how the company creates its moderation policies. The social media giant has often been questioned on this, and the Wuhan lab-leak theory could be seen as a sign that Facebook’s moderation efforts aren’t backed by enough substantial research.

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