Facebook has been throttling comments, posts, and articles that have referenced the "lab-leak" origin story hypothesis of the coronavirus, and now the massive tech giant has reversed course.
Facebook had said in February that in addition to other misleading health claims that the social media platform would not tolerate on its sight, the concept that "COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured" would also be disallowed in discourse.
On Wednesday, Facebook made an about-face, saying that "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. 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," Politico reported.
This move comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came down with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019. This revelation has given further credence to the theory that the virus was was modified in the lab using gain-of-function research to enhance its contagious properties to allow for greater study.
That theory, which was broached in early spring 2020, was dismissed outright as a hair-brained, wacky idea, primarily, it seems, due to the fact that then-President Donald Trump mentioned that he thought it might be a possibility. Fact-checkers like WaPo's Glenn Kessler said that those who made the lab-leak claim also theorized that the illness could have been an intentionally made bio-weapon, and for that reason, the idea in total was squashed.
The State Department, under then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, undertook an investigation into the origins of the virus. That investigation was spiked by the Biden administration. In hearings on Wednesday, Sen. John Kennedy asked officials why that investigation was halted abruptly, but no answer was forthcoming. Dr. Anthony Fauci and others said that they didn't know it was ended until they read about it in the press.
The Biden White House has now implemented its own investigation into the potential lab-leak origins of COVID-19. Now that the Trump administration isn't behind the claim, social media, mainstream media, and Democrats are finding it impossible to ignore the potentiality anymore.
Facebook suppression of the conversation surrounding COVID and its origins has taken a particularly hard toll on small media companies that use social media to enhance their reach. Conservative media, which consistently and diligently reported on the possibility of COVID originating from a Wuhan lab, suffered under the censorship with throttled reach as a result of the ban.