Amid Pandemic, Facebook Stifles Information Showing China’s Cover-Up

April 16, 2020 Updated: April 17, 2020

The Epoch Times recently published a documentary to Facebook, “Tracking Down the Origin of Wuhan Coronavirus.”

The documentary went viral across different channels, including Facebook, generating a lot of healthy discussion and more than 70 million views collectively, at last count.

However, “independent fact checkers” erroneously marked the video as false. Click here to read the justification provided by the fact checker.

The “fact checker” appears to take issue with some of the expert opinions the documentary presents. With the Chinese Communist Party having destroyed evidence and prevented research into the origin of the virus, it’s very difficult to draw any definitive conclusions. It’s not the intent of the film to provide a definitive answer.

Aside from the expert opinions, the film explores purely the known facts surrounding the CCP virus (commonly known as the novel coronavirus) and the global pandemic.

The documentary has had a strong impact, creating interest in potential origins for the virus that challenge the official Chinese Communist Party talking points of its origin at the Huanan Seafood Market.

Following the publication of the documentary, these related articles were published:

  1. Washington Post: State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses
  2. Washington Times: Joint Chiefs chairman: U.S. intel investigating whether coronavirus leaked from Wuhan lab
  3. Fox News: Sources believe coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab as part of China’s efforts to compete with US

Clearly, many took our documentary very seriously. On top of this, there are several issues that render the fact checking performed spurious, notably:

  1. The fact checking is done based on an article published by The New York Post, not our documentary. There may be some overlap with respect to evidence, but a number of points cited have nothing to do with our documentary.
  2. One of two experts cited, Danielle Anderson, is not independent, as she states: “I will disclose that I am a scientist trained to work in high containment and have collaborative projects with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). I have worked in this exact laboratory at various times for the past 2 years. I can personally attest to the strict control and containment measures implemented while working there. The staff at WIV are incredibly competent, hardworking, and are excellent scientists with superb track records.”
  3. A key fact check claim is actually false: “There is no evidence supporting claims that biosecurity is poor in the Wuhan Institute of Virology or that lab animals are being sold or consumed.” This claim is false based on articles 1 and 3 mentioned above.
  4. The headline for this fact check is “Scientific evidence indicates virus that causes COVID-19 infection is of natural origin, not the result of human engineering.” The highlighted fact check claim at the top of the page is “evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” which is marked INCORRECT. This fact check conflates the idea of “lab origin” with “engineering”—a coronavirus (one of many held at these specific labs) could be under research but not a product of bioengineering. And the virus could have spread from the lab to the general population without being engineered.

We call on Facebook to remove its incorrect label and allow more people to see this very timely documentary. At The Epoch Times, we are firm believers in freedom of the press. Especially now, as the global pandemic continues, it is vital for audiences around the world to be provided with independent and accurate information to make informed decisions.

In speaking out for the need for a free press, we are standing with the position taken by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. As he said at Georgetown University in October 2019, “As a principle, in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.”

Correction: a previous version of this article referred to a single fact checker, where Facebook refers to multiple fact checkers, and it identified Danielle Anderson as that fact checker, where the fact checking article quotes her as an expert. The Epoch Times regrets the errors.

Follow Stephen on Twitter: @StephenEpoch