Why Social Media Companies Were Wrong to Muzzle Lab Leak Theorists

I’ve written a piece for Mail+ today on why it was wrong for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to remove content defending the lab leak theory and label it ‘misinformation’, given that it’s now entered the mainstream. One of the best arguments against censorship on Social media is that the ‘independent’ fact-checkers the companies rely on to determine which points of view are respectable and which are ‘conspiracy theories’ will inevitably make mistakes – and the transformation of the lab leak theory from fringe hypothesis to most likely explanation is a perfect illustration of this. Here’s an extract:

A few weeks ago, former New York Times science writer and freelance British journalist Nicholas Wade wrote a blog post setting out the case for the lab leak theory in meticulous detail and it was as if the spell was broken. Suddenly, those putting forward this hypothesis were no longer “conspiracy theorists”, even if the Wikipedia page on Covid-19 Misinformation still describes us in that way.

On May 14, 12 days after Wade’s piece appeared, 18 scientists, including some from MIT and Harvard, wrote a letter to Science, a prestigious journal, saying both theories were “viable” and deserved rigorous investigation.

Shortly afterwards, the editorial board of the Washington Post called for the lab leak theory to be properly looked into and – a few days ago – even Dr Fauci himself conceded defeat, saying he’s “not convinced” Covid-19 developed naturally and calling for further investigation.

What all this goes to show is that no one has a monopoly on the truth when it comes to this virus – not eminent scientists, not government advisors, and certainly not social media companies. Those of us who depart from the official narrative should not be accused of spreading “misinformation” and silenced by the powers that be. Rather, we should be permitted to set out our case in the public square, supporting it with evidence and reason, and if the gatekeepers of respectable opinion think we’re wrong, they should set out their reasons in the same spirit of open debate, not smear us as “cranks” or “conspiracy theorists”.

When it comes to the lab leak theory, we may still turn out to be wrong. But the only way to find out is through a dispassionate, rigorous investigation. Censorship has never been a good technique for finding out the truth.

Worth reading in full.

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