For over one year, big tech companies like Twitter and Facebook have censored credible stories, sources, information and discussion about the potential that Wuhan coronavirus came from gain-of-function experiments in a Chinese lab, not from a transmission in nature from animals to humans.
Last week Facebook changed its position and announced it would no longer remove posts on the topic.
"Facebook will no longer take down posts claiming that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured, a company spokesperson told POLITICO on Wednesday, a move that acknowledges the renewed debate about the virus’ origins," POLITICO reports. "Facebook’s policy tweak arrives as support surges in Washington for a fuller investigation into the origins of Covid-19 after the Wall Street Journal reported that three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in late 2019 with symptoms consistent with the virus. The findings have reinvigorated the debate about the so-called Wuhan lab-leak theory, once dismissed as a fringe conspiracy theory."
But now a newly surfaced email from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from Buzzfeed, may explain why Facebook was censoring the information.
"Tony: I wanted to send a note of thanks for your leadership and everything you're doing to make our country's response to this outbreak as effective as possible. I also wanted to share a few ideas of ways we could help you get your message out but I understand you're incredibly busy, so don't feel a need to reply unless these seem interesting," Zuckerberg wrote in an email to Fauci on March 15, 2020, adding that he wanted to help get "authoritative" information out to the masses.
Fauci responded to Zuckerberg directly and worked with him on a number of messaging projects for the platform.
When Fauci was asked about the lab leak theory in April 2020, he downplayed the idea. Facebook then started removing posts and conversations about the lab leak theory from their platform.
"Could you address these suggestions or concerns that this virus was somehow manmade, possibly came out of a laboratory in China?" Fauci was asked by a reporter during an official White House Coronavirus Taskforce briefing.
"The mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human," Fauci said.
That statement contradicted an email Fauci received from an NIH scientist on January 31, 2020, who said the virus was "potentially engineered" in a lab.
"On a phylogenetic tree the virus looks totally normal and the close clustering with bats suggest that bats serve as the reservoir. The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered," Andersen said.
Since January 2020, Facebook has removed hundreds of posts about Wuhan coronavirus, citing "misinformation" pointed out by "fact checkers." Dr. Fauci was falsely downplaying the lab leak theory, the media called it a conspiracy theory and Facebook, using Fauci as an "authoritative" source, engaged in censorship on the topic.
Also, the lab leak theory didn’t change. It didn’t suddenly become credible. It didn’t jump from crazy to reasonable. The theory has always been the same. The people who got it wrong changed their minds. They are writing about themselves, with zero self awareness.— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) May 29, 2021