Facebook Fact-Checker Won’t Acknowledge Possible Origins for COVID-19

January 5th, 2021 11:19 AM

Once again, one of Facebook’s fact-checkers has failed to acknowledge the facts — this time surrounding the origins of COVID-19. 

Now, even a leftist source has begun to concede that COVID-19 may have originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. Contributor to New York Magazine’s “Intelligencer” Nicholson Baker questioned whether the virus was released either on accident or on purpose. But it appears as though PolitiFact has not gotten the memo. 

PolitiFact had a field day with the claim that COVID-19 originated in a lab, calling such claims “debunked conspiracy theor[ies].” Dr. Li-Meng Yan, appeared in a Sept. 15 interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News. PolitiFact noted that Dr. Yan was “a virologist and former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hong Kong.” When asked if she believed that China released the virus “on purpose,” Dr. Yan responded: “Yes, of course, it's intentionally.” PolitiFact labeled Dr. Yan’s statement “Pants on Fire!” Facebook then labeled the video on its platform as “False information,” further stating in the label that the “post repeats information about COVID-19 that independent fact-checkers says is false.”

“Scientists have two plausible explanations for the origin of the virus: natural selection in an animal host, or natural selection in humans after the virus jumped from animals,” said PolitiFact. 

But some in the media have now begun to consider other means by which the virus could have come about: “What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out,” Baker wrote for the Intelligencer.  

Even the government has begun to acknowledge that the virus could have come from an unnatural source. “U.S. deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger told British parliamentarians last week that even Chinese leaders have started to acknowledge that the virus did not originate in the Wuhan wet market as initially reported. Instead, he said, it likely escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology located just 11 miles away,” The Blaze reported. 

Despite revelations from U.S. government officials and the media, PolitiFact has not updated, or even lessened, the rating of its fact check. This is ultimately unsurprising, given that PolitiFact is affiliated with the ultra-liberal Poynter Institute. Facebook partners with the Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network, which received $1.3 billion from liberal billionaires George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. 

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