Facebook reverses policy to allow posts speculating that COVID-19 was made in a lab

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Facebook has lifted its ban on content speculating about the origins of COVID-19, and theories about its possible lab creation, Politico reports.

“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill.
They added, “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 Facebook policy shift comes after months of targeting content that the social media site deemed misinformation regarding the pandemic.

In December, Facebook announced it would be nixing posts that contained false information about the coronavirus vaccines.

Posts containing false claims about “safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects” were added to the list of already banned content, which included more general coronavirus misinformation.

In recent weeks, the theory that COVID-19 escaped from a laboratory gained some traction in Washington, resulting in President Biden announcing a ramped-up effort to confirm how the virus originated

“As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China,” Biden said in a statement. “I have also asked that this effort include work by our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community’s efforts. And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work.”

Updated: 9:45 p.m. 

Tags COVID-19 misinformation Facebook Facebook Fake News Fringe theory Internet manipulation and propaganda Joe Biden misinformation Social media

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