Facebook Punishes Christian Satire Site Babylon Bee for ‘Inciting Violence’
By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer
Facebook punished The Babylon Bee over a recent satire piece titled “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch.”
The Christian satire site’s title was drawn from a joke in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.
The social media giant claimed the article “incited violence” when it satirized Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono’s questions to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
The article in question quips that Hirono suspects Barrett is “a practitioner of the dark arts” because the Chicago judge showed “perfect recall and no notes.”
The article also pulls directly from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and jokes:
“In addition to being a Senator, I am also quite wise in the ways of science,” the satirical quote reads. “Everyone knows witches burn because they are made of wood. I think I read that somewhere. Wood floats, and so do ducks — so logically, if Amy Coney Barrett weighs as much as this duck I found in the reflection pool outside, she is a witch and must be burned.”
Facebook demonetized the website’s page and ordered The Babylon Bee to revise the article. The social network also attempted to gag the site’s creator by requesting he not speak publicly about the review.
“In what universe does a fictional quote as part of an obvious joke constitute a genuine incitement to violence?” Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon said on Twitter. “How does context not come into play here? They’re asking us to edit the article and not speak publicly about internal content reviews. Oops, did I just tweet this?”
Dillon said The Babylon Bee followed the protocols to appeal the punishment.
“We fully expected that once a real person reviewed the article, they’d see that it’s just a rehashed Monty Python joke put out there by a satire site. It literally couldn’t be more silly or harmless,” Dillon told PJ Media. “But they stuck with their original ruling and want us to edit the article before they’ll reinstate monetization on our page. Needless to say, we won’t be doing that.”
The CEO also noted that Facebook’s accusations reveal a double standard.
“How fairly does Facebook enforce these standards? A Black Lives Matter leader recently said they’ll ‘burn down this system’ if change doesn’t happen. That’s allowed on Facebook. You can quote it. You can link to it. But you can’t rehash a Monty Python joke about burning a witch at the stake?”
Dillon continued: “Facebook says in their community standards that they take context into account when evaluating threats and incitements to violence. The evidence here suggests otherwise.”
So after a manual review, Facebook says they stand by their decision to pull down this article and demonetize our page. I'm not kidding. They say this article "incites violence." It's literally a regurgitated joke from a Monty Python movie!https://t.co/U9B6tTOj6N
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) October 20, 2020