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WASHINGTON: Facebook has reversed its policy banning posts suggesting Covid-19 was man-made, on the heels of renewed debate over the origins of the virus which first emerged in China.

The latest move by Facebook, announced late Wednesday on its website, highlights the challenge of policing misinformation and disinformation on the world’s largest social network.

“In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of Covid-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that Covid-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps,” the statement said.

“We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge.”

The new statement updates guidance from Facebook in February when it said it would remove false or debunked claims about the novel coronavirus which created a global pandemic killing more than three million.

The move followed President Joe Biden’s directive to US intelligence agencies to investigate competing theories on how the virus first emerged — through animal contact at a market in Wuhan, China, or through accidental release from a research laboratory in the same city.

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