Facebook censors expert’s post linking coronavirus to Chinese research lab
MENLO PARK, California, March 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Social media giant Facebook censored a post by an expert on China that suggested that the coronavirus sweeping the world escaped from a Chinese laboratory.
On February 24, the Population Research Institute published a post on Facebook linking to author and China expert Steve Mosher’s New York Post article about the origins of Covid-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-2). Facebook blocked the post, however, stating that it was “false information.”
Mosher’s argument is that the coronavirus most likely came from China’s National Biosafety Laboratory, which is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“At an emergency meeting in Beijing held last Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke about the need to contain the coronavirus and set up a system to prevent similar epidemics in the future,” the author of Bully of Asia wrote on February 22.
“A national system to control biosecurity risks must be put in place ‘to protect the people’s health,’” Xi said, because lab safety is a “‘national security’ issue,” Mosher continued.
“Xi didn’t actually admit that the coronavirus now devastating large swaths of China had escaped from one of the country’s bioresearch labs. But the very next day, evidence emerged suggesting that this is exactly what happened, as the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: ‘Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.’”
Mosher revealed that China’s only microbiology lab that can handle novel coronavirus is the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s National Biosafety Laboratory.
After being posted on social media, the article went viral. It got over 13 million views and 100,000 shares before it was blocked by Facebook.
In its explanation of why it had blocked the PRI’s post, Facebook linked to a review by an online organization called Health Feedback, a branch of Science Feedback. Health Feedback stated that Mosher’s claims are “inaccurate and misleading.” It also quoted a coronavirus expert who took issue with Mosher’s description of the National Biosafety Laboratory as “a bioweapons research lab.”
Danielle E. Anderson, a virologist at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore who helped develop an antibody test for COVID-19, said this description was “simply false.”
“I have worked in this exact laboratory at various times for the past two years,” she told Health Feedback.
“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.”
Anderson said the Chinese directive on biosecurity management was ”something that is put in place immediately when dealing with a new pathogen.”
She admitted, however, that Mosher’s reference to SARS escaping a Beijing lab twice was accurate.
In a March 9 statement, the Population Research Institute argued that “every single data point used by Mosher to point to the Wuhan Institute of Virology as the source of the China Coronavirus is true.”
It provided a list:
Fact: China has a bioweapons program run out of two labs, the more advanced of which is the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Fact: Chinese agents have stolen dangerous coronaviruses out of North American labs and taken them to WIV.
Fact: Chinese virologists, working under the direction of the People’s Liberation Army, have genetically engineered at least one coronavirus to make it more infectious, reporting their “achievement” in the pages of the Journal of Virology.
Fact: Chinese biotechnology labs, such as the WIV, have a history of accidentally releasing dangerous pathogens into the surrounding population.
Fact: The Chinese coronavirus epidemic began in the city of Wuhan, the city where WIV is located.
Health Feedback stated that Mosher “lacks experience in virology or biological research.” The Population Research Institute denied this and accused the group of a left-wing bias.
“The ‘fact-checkers’ used by Facebook are a left-wing advocacy group which falsely accused Mosher of ‘writing a clickbait headline without any previous experience in the medical field.’ But Mosher actually has an advanced degree in the biological sciences and has published in medical journals,” it wrote.
“More importantly, he is one of America’s leading experts on China, is fluent in Chinese, and understands the crimes that the Communist Chinese Party has committed against its own people.”
Mosher told LifeSiteNews that he found the relationship between Facebook and Health Feedback “incestuous.”
“It looks to me like a pretty incestuous relationship,” he stated via email.
“The left-wing censors on Facebook contract with left-wing ‘fact-checkers’ to reconfirm their prejudices.”
Science Feedback, the parent group of Health Feedback, says that it is non-partisan
“Our first mission is to help create an Internet where users will have access to scientifically sound and trustworthy information,” it states.
“We also provide feedback to editors and journalists about the credibility of information published by their outlets,” it continues.
“Our mission is pedagogical: we strive to explain whether and why information is or is not consistent with the science. We are nonpartisan and apply the same methodology to claims made in a variety of media outlets, as well as exposing claims that either contradict or over-hype science. We believe it is scientists’ civic duty to better inform our fellow citizens in our area of expertise.”