Facebook won't remove posts claiming COVID-19 is human-made

President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Biden is asking U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemi

Facebook says it will no longer remove claims from its apps that COVID-19 is manmade or manufactured "in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts".

Facebook's shift in policy Wednesday marks a notable reversal of what was a recent add to their list of misleading health claims.

Facebook does not usually ban misinformation outright on its platform, instead adding fact-checks by outside parties, which includes The Associated Press, to debunked claims. In February, it announced a host of new claims it would be prohibiting - including that COVID-19 was created in a Chinese lab.

In his statement, Biden called on China to cooperate with investigations into the origins of the pandemic, but didn't echo calls from Republican lawmakers that Beijing should be held accountable if the virus escaped its lab. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that three WIV scientists were sick enough in November 2019 to need hospital care.

"Very clearly they are trying to internationalise their way out of the jam they are in", said Jamie Metzl, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, who has been campaigning for a new independent investigation.

A day after President Joe Biden ordered United States intelligence to probe the origins of coronavirus, President Xi Jinping's regime said the USA was attempting to make a "scapegoat" out of China. He has asked for a new report to be filed in 90 days looking further into the origins of the virus that has killed at least 590,000 Americans and almost 3.5 million people worldwide.

His comments came after Biden asked the USA intelligence on Wednesday to report back to him on the origins of the virus within 90 days.

A World Health Organization report earlier this year said the most likely origin scenario was that the virus spread to humans from bats through an unspecified intermediary animal. The investigators, who spent almost a month in China, ruled that a lab accident was "extremely unlikely".

After the report was released, however, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted all theories remained on the table.

Zhao said that the USA ranks first globally in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities, which have reached around 33 million and 600,000 respectively.

"To politicize origin tracing, a matter of science, will not only make it hard to find the origin of the virus, but give free rein to the "political virus" and seriously hamper global cooperation on the pandemic", the Chinese Embassy said late Wednesday.

He also urged the USA to open itself up to investigations into its own biological laboratories, including those located in the Naval Medical Research Centre's Biological Defence Research Directorate at Fort Detrick in Maryland. "Such study and investigation shall be full, transparent and evidence-based, and shall get to the bottom to make everything clear". "Most of us continue to believe that we're underestimating Mother Nature here", he said, noting that two previous coronavirus outbreaks this century were determined to have emerged naturally.



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