When COVID-19 was declared a global public health emergency last year, Facebook banned posts that called the coronavirus man-made or manufactured. Now, the social media giant has lifted this months-long ban as probes on the origins of the virus continue.
“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,” Facebook writes about the policy tweak.
Previously, those who will attempt to post on the matter will receive a notification saying their post violated Facebook’s policy, with reasons on why the post was removed. The ban was part of the company’s efforts to stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19. Other false claims on the virus and the vaccines will still be removed.
When the pandemic was first breaking out, health experts argued that it likely originated from animals then jumped to humans. Meanwhile, others theorized that the virus leaked from a lab in China, but these claims were dismissed as they lacked evidence.
In the past few weeks, however, scientists and public officials in the US are calling for a fuller investigation of COVID’s beginnings. The call was further strengthened after the Wall Street Journal reported that staffers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in late 2019 with COVID-like symptoms.
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden ordered intelligence to develop a report on the origin of the virus within 90 days. He also said that agencies have yet reached a conclusion, sharing that they’ve been split between the lab-leak theory and animal spillover theory.