Shifting definitions in social media: Facebook announced in February It had expanded the list of misleading health claims it would remove from its platforms to include those claiming that “COVID-19 was made or made by humans”. The tech giant has updated its policy against false and misleading coronavirus information. including the ongoing list of debunked claimsin the course of the pandemic in consultation with global health authorities.
However, a Facebook spokesman said Wednesday that the language of origin had been removed from this list due to renewed debate over the virus’s roots.
“Given the ongoing investigations into the creation of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 was man-made from our apps,” the spokesman said in an email sent statement. “We continue to work with health professionals to keep pace with the development of the pandemic and to update our guidelines regularly as new facts and trends emerge.”
Guidelines under the microscope: Social media companies have come under heavy pressure from Congress Democrats to step up crackdown on misinformation about the virus during the pandemic. House lawmakers invited the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google to a hearing on the matter in March.
Other platforms, including Twitter, have stated that misleading claims about the roots of the virus could also violate its guidelines. However, Facebook’s move is the first major sign that prominent social media companies are revising these rules if the Wuhan Lab Leak Theory is followed.
Twitter and YouTube spokespeople have not returned requests for comment as to whether or not to change their own guidelines on Covid-19 claims of origin.