Facebook on Thursday was ripped by British politicians for “showing its true and ugly colors” with its ban of reports on whether COVID-19 came from a lab in Wuhan — and for reversing course only after the theories became “fashionable with the liberal elite.”
The social media giant has long quashed reports questioning if the virus leaked from the Chinese lab — including slapping “False Information” warnings on an op-ed that ran in The Post last year, long before the contagion was officially declared a pandemic.
It eventually issued an all-out ban of such posts, claiming the theories had been “debunked” — only to lift it this week when President Biden ordered US intelligence agencies to investigate claims long touted by his predecessor, President Trump.
“I think it is absolutely contemptible and it shows their commitment to democracy is an incredibly thin veneer over their commercial interests,” UK Member of Parliament Bob Seely told the Daily Mail Thursday of Facebook’s sudden about-face.
“So many big tech firms are showing their true and frankly really ugly colors,” he said.
“This is not a conspiracy theory. There is a genuine debate about where the Wuhan virus came from,” Seely said of concerns over the Wuhan Institute of Virology, whose now-notorious “Bat woman” director researches viruses similar to the one causing COVID-19.
“For Facebook to be shutting that conversation down is absolutely appalling,” he said.
The company should “re-embrace freedom of speech and understand their job is not to censor people but to provide a platform where people within the law can express themselves and ideas freely,” he said.
“I suggest they get back to that function rather than trying to ingratiate themselves with China or anyone else,” he said.
Fellow conservative MP Peter Bone also told the outlet that Facebook is only an “open platform” for people who “agree with Facebook.”
“Their decisions are based on politics, not on principle … if it is fashionable with the liberal elite, it can go down,” he told the outlet.
“The thing that Trump was saying is exactly the same as Biden is saying, but Trump was, according to Facebook, not allowed to say that. Whereas, everyone loves Biden from Facebook — therefore it must be right,” he said.
“If it is liberal elite say it it must be OK. If it’s President Trump that says it, it must be awful.
Former conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith also insisted that the debate should not be “stifled” because the “coincidences were too great” to not investigate how the pandemic started.
“I think the power now of the social media giants is transcending the power of governments,” he told the Daily Mail, calling that a “real problem.”
“These are decisions about debate. They are not about conspiracy,” he said.
Facebook’s reversal comes as the lab leak theory gains steam, amplified by a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that said three workers at the lab were hospitalized in November 2019 with coronavirus-like systems.
Their illnesses came shortly before the first officially reported COVID-19 cases.
Trump — who long touted the theory while in the White House — said this week that “it was obvious to smart people” that COVID-19 emerged from the Wuhan lab, saying, “I had no doubt about it.”