Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that his interview with a virologist who said coronavirus was created in a lab, was “suppressed” by Facebook on behalf of the “Chinese government.”
Dr Li-Meng Yan, who was previously a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health, made headlines earlier this year when she claimed to have evidence that the Chinese government was involved in creating Covid-19, which has so far killed more than 941,541 people worldwide.
Dr Yan claims that after she published her research she was forced to flee from Hong Kong to LA, and is now in hiding in an undisclosed location in the US.
On Tuesday, Dr Yan reiterated her claims that the virus was “man-made” when she appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight to talk about the report.
During the interview, where she was referred to as a “whistleblower,” Dr Yan claimed: “I have evidence to show why they can do it, what they have done, how [they did it].”
She added: “The scientific world also keeps silent...works together with the Chinese Communist Party, they don't want people to know this truth.
“That's why I get suspended, I get suppressed, I am the target that Chinese Communist Party wants disappeared.”
The interview was uploaded to the Tucker Carlson Tonight Facebook and Instagram pages later that night, but the social media sites labelled them, and wrote: “The primary claims in the information are factually inaccurate.”
Facebook and Instagram linked to three stories from Factcheck.org and USA Today to debunk Dr Yan’s claims that the virus was man-made, according to Newsweek.
During his show on Wednesday night, Carlson criticised Facebook for labelling the post, and claimed that the social media site had “censored” him.
The host dedicated nearly 15 minutes of the programme on Wednesday to defending Dr Yan’s comments and criticised Facebook for making it “harder for users to watch our segment.”
He added: “The coronavirus pandemic has touched the life of every American. And justifiably, people want to know where it came from.
“But Facebook still doesn’t want you to know that. So Facebook suppressed the video, presumably on behalf of the Chinese government.”
For the second night in a row Tucker insists that nobody bothered to check where COVID-19 actually came from, and pushed the lab-made theory, ignoring the mountain of research that directly contradicts this claim. pic.twitter.com/pdXBsx9IEi— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 17, 2020
Dr Yan made the claims about the origins of Covid-19 in a report earlier this year alongside three other colleagues.
The research appeared to be affiliated with the Rule of Law Society, a group founded by president Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Steven Bannon, according to Newsweek.
The report, which has not been peer-reviewed, read: “Natural origin theory, although widely accepted, lacks substantial support.
“The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals.”
The researchers claimed to have evidence that showed that Covid-19 was created in a lab, but the report did not appear to shed new information on the virus.
The University of Hong Kong disputed the findings and released a statement to ITV, where they wrote: “Dr Yan's statement does not accord with the key facts as we understand them. They have no scientific basis but resemble hearsay.”
Prior to Dr Yan’s appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Twitter suspended her account, which at the time had amassed more than 60,000 followers, after she posted her research in several tweets.
Twitter introduced a policy in May to label posts that contain information about Covid-19, which has been disputed or is controversial.
The site said the policy was introduced to “provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content.”