Dr. Li-Meng Yan escaped to the United States after facing threats for talking about the origins of the virus in China. Last week, a publication shared an interview with Yan, who claims to have evidence that the virus was created in a research lab in Wuhan, China. She said that the virus was created with the approval of China's People's Liberation Army.
The article has been flagged by Facebook as having "partly false information," and the social media website is not allowing it to be shared. In at least one case, Facebook removed the post entirely and left a message in its place, indicating a "partly false" status.
The post was "fact-checked" by Science Feedback, a self-claimed independent fact-checker that continues to propagate the lie that "the virus causing COVID-19 most likely evolved in natural wildlife populations before spreading to humans." (Related: Big tech censorship collusion continues as Facebook follows Twitter’s lead and squelches interview with “rogue” Chinese scientist who says COVID-19 was engineered in a lab.)
This statement is contrary to Yan's, who said: "The virus actually does not come from nature. It came from the lab, the lab controlled by the Chinese Communist Party government and its military. The Chinese government has developed a novel bioweapon."
In a recent update, however, Facebook feedback changed its rating from "partly false" to "missing context." The social media site noted that their reviews don't dispute the conclusions made by public health authorities and the U.S. government, specifically with regard to how the coronavirus began to infect humans remaining unclear.
Yan also shared that documents from the Chinese military support her claims, adding that she was warned not to go public with her findings. "Be silent, don’t cross a red line. If not, you will [disappear]," her supervisor at the University of Hong Kong told her early last year.
When the publication reached out to Facebook about the story, they blamed it instead on the fact-checker, stating: "Just as all fact-checks, if you wish to issue a correction or dispute a rating, we ask that you please contact the fact-checking organization directly. Third-party fact-checkers apply their ratings independently from Facebook and are responsible for responding to appeals."
They also pointed to the Help Center to provide "more information" about the process.
This is not the first time that Yan was censored on social media. In September 2020, Twitter made the same move as Facebook when it suspended the scientist's account after she exposed that the virus was created in a lab and was intentionally released.
Yan and other researchers posted a preprint of their study, which shows the virus was engineered in a laboratory and not a result of natural evolution.
"This particular conspiracy around deliberate release from a laboratory has been doing the rounds throughout the pandemic. It has been rebutted several times already," said senior research fellow Michael Head, from the University of Southampton.
"Ultimately, it could be damaging to public health if reported uncritically without looking at the wider evidence. If people are exposed to and then believe conspiracy theories, this will likely have a negative impact on efforts to keep COVID-19 cases low and thus there will be more death and illness than there needs to be."
Despite various claims about the origin of COVID-19, there is no settled agreement on that point. U.S. President Joe Biden, for instance, hasn't ruled out the true origins of the disease and has tasked the intelligence community with the responsibility of finding out the full story. However, the 90-day investigation remained inconclusive.
Biden's chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, came under fire from the members of Congress for funding the "gain of function" research at the Wuhan virology lab.
As early as February 2020, Fauci and other public-health officials played a pivotal role in shaping the views of key scientists whose published papers and public statements contributed to the shutting down of the legitimate discussion regarding the laboratory, which may have ignited the pandemic.
Just this week, Harvard University scientists told members of Parliament in the U.K. that it is "reasonable" that the virus could have been genetically engineered. Yan is not alone in her claims regarding the origin of the pandemic, but she remained brave enough to speak out despite Facebook and Twitter opting to censor her.
Listen to commentary related to this type of censorship from the video below:
Read more about the ongoing issues regarding the Wuhan coronavirus at Pandemic.news.