Facebook posts claiming that COVID-19 was "man-made" will no longer be removed, the social media giant announced Wednesday.
Why it matters: The lifting of the ban reflects a reinvigorated debate on the origins of the pandemic in recent days, following a Wall Street Journal report that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 after falling ill.
- President Biden has asked the U.S. intelligence community to step up efforts to investigate the origins of the coronavirus and provide a report within 90 days that "could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion."
The big picture: Biden administration officials and others criticized an investigation by a team of scientists assembled by the World Health Organization and China's government, that returned inconclusive findings on the pandemic's origins.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called for a "transparent, science-based" follow-up investigation during a World Health Assembly meeting on Tuesday.
What they're saying: "In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
- "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."