Facebook apologized to Babylon Bee, a conservative satirical website, after the social media platform censored one of its posts and demonetized its entire page for making fun of Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon revealed this week that Facebook had demonetized his website’s social media page for running a satirical article titled, “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch.”
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
The article was an obvious spin-off of a popular movie scene by the British comedy troupe Monty Python, but Facebook argued that the article “incites violence” and demanded that the Babylon Bee remove it.
Dillon announced that he would not be removing the post, even if that meant losing the ability to raise money on his website’s Facebook page.
“They’re asking us to edit the article and not speak publicly about internal content reviews,” Dillon said earlier this week. “We will not be editing the article to get our page’s monetization reinstated.”
But soon after Dillon took the controversy public, Facebook issued an apology.
“This was a mistake and we apologize that it happened,” a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News. “Satire can be difficult for our systems to identify, but we’ve restored the article and their ability to monetize.”
This apology would have been easier to believe if this had been the first time Facebook made such a “mistake,” Dillon said. But this is not the first time something like this has happened, he pointed out.
“Why did it have to take getting the media involved to fix this? And why did it happen in the first place?” Dillon asked in response to Facebook.
“This was not just an algorithm flagging an article in error,” he continued. “Yes, that happened. But then a manual review took place and the ruling to penalize us was upheld. I notice they left that part out.”
Facebook has repeatedly accused the Babylon Bee of violating its “community standards,” Dillon said. And every time that happens, “Facebook is reaching—stretching as hard as they can—to treat us as if we’ve violated them,” he added.