Facebook does not let posts that claim the coronavirus might have originated in a Chinese lab go without a fact-check.
The story: The company recently added such a label to a post that shared a Medium article platform. The piece, penned by science reporter Nicholas Wade looks into the theory that the virus might have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Facebook slapped the post with a “Missing Context” label.
In the article, Wade, a former New York Times writer, looks at two theories related to the origins of the coronavirus. The first one is that it jumped from animals to humans and the second that it came from a lab where it was studied and eventually, escaped.
His piece presents the current scientific facts available and suggests that the second theory, which is that the virus originated in a lab, is more plausible than the other, based on what is currently known.
It’s worth noting that Wade highlights at the very beginning of the piece that there is not enough evidence to support either theory entirely.
“People round the world who have been pretty much confined to their homes for the last year might like a better answer than their media are giving them. Perhaps one will emerge in time. After all, the more months pass without the natural emergence theory gaining a shred of supporting evidence, the less plausible it may seem,” he writes.
“Perhaps the international community of virologists will come to be seen as a false and self-interested guide. The common sense perception that a pandemic breaking out in Wuhan might have something to do with a Wuhan lab cooking up novel viruses of maximal danger in unsafe conditions could eventually displace the ideological insistence that whatever Trump said can’t be true,” Wade concludes.
Facebook’s response and why it matters? The label on the post on the platform links to a fact-check from Health Feedback that was written last year. This means it probably does not take into account recent developments on the issue.
The Washington Free Beacon, which first flagged the fact-check, points out that it’s “riddled with grammatical errors” and that it denies the theory based on five tweets and two academic articles.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization sent a team to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the virus. The group initially said there was not enough evidence to support the theory that the coronavirus came from a lab and later clarified that the theory has not been ruled out yet.
As many skeptics pointed out, China did not allow for an independent investigation, meaning Chinese officials and security officers closely monitored the WHO team’s activities in Wuhan.
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Author: Penka Arsova
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