In the earliest days of the pandemic, Facebook took it upon itself to curb “fake news” about the coronavirus. In a blog post from January 30, 2020, the company announced that it would “start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them.”
One such “conspiracy theory” was that COVID-19 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and then escaped.
On April 30, 2020, President Trump was asked about this theory during a press briefing.
“Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?” a reporter asked.
“Yes, I have. Yes, I have,” Trump replied. “And I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China. And this country pays them almost $500 million a year, and China pays them $38 million a year. And whether it’s a lot or more, it doesn’t matter. It’s still — they shouldn’t be making excuses when people make horrible mistakes, especially mistakes that are causing hundreds of thousands of people around the world to die. I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves.”