News Analysis

The Babylon Bee takes on Facebook censorship and wins

"There's more to jokes than just the laughter they produce," Dillon said. "Humor is a vehicle for carrying the truth, and the truth can be offensive."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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Facebook suppressed the posts of satirical outlet The Babylon Bee after they ran a rather hysterical story about Sen. Mazie Hirono's (D-HI) outright disgust with Amy Coney Barrett, only reversing course after media outrage forced their hand.

In "Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch," the Bee posited that Hirono and her fellow Democrats had "suspicions" that Barrett "might be a practitioner of the dark arts."

Stealing liberally from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Bee joked that Hirono said "Oh, she's a witch alright, just look at her... Just look at the way she's dressed and how she's so much prettier and smarter than us! She's in league with Beelzebub himself, I just know it! We must burn her!"

The Post Millennial asked Seth Dillon, Babylon Bee CEO, why he thinks Facebook came down so much harder on the Bee for this one, given that they've tangled before. After the story was flagged by fact checkers, the Bee filed an appeal, as is the process. That appeal was denied.

"It's just difficult for us to believe that Facebook has decided to double down on this enforcement decision," Dillon said. "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. Yet here we are."

Hirono, the Bee wrote, "pulled a live duck out of a massive burlap sack next to her and announced: 'In addition to being a Senator, I am also quite wise in the ways of science. 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 said that these jokes, poking fun at Sen. Hirono for her treatment of Barrett, was unacceptable.

"The issue here isn't that we've actually violated Facebook's community standards," Dillon told The Post Millennial. "It's that Facebook is reaching — stretching as hard as they can, I'd say — to treat us as if we've violated them. Why?"

After Facebook's absurd take down, Dillon said that they would absolutely not cave to Facebook's demands, and opened his inbox to media inquiries.

The Post Millennial asked Dillon how we got to the point where jokes can be considered actual violence.

"There's more to jokes than just the laughter they produce," Dillon said. "Humor is a vehicle for carrying the truth, and the truth can be offensive. It also happens to be the more effective, in many cases, than serious rational argumentation. [G.K.] Chesteron captured this idea well when he wrote: 'Humor can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle.' That's the threat."

After many media outlets lambasted Facebook for cracking down on jokes, the social media giant reversed their decision. They said it was a mistake. They blamed it on their "automated systems."

The Babylon Bee has wasted no time at all in continuing to satirize the absurdity of the ongoing Democrat vitriol over Barrett's nomination, now confirmation, with their latest Barrett-centric headline: "Democrats Ask ACB To Recuse Herself From Any Cases Involving The Constitution."

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