The Babylon Bee, the #1 Christian satire site on the internet, has been embroiled in a series of conflicts this week that has seen them secure a few wins and suffer a few losses as they fight back against social media censors.
In a post by CEO Seth Dillon, the Bee explains that they’ve had a few new developments that have forced them to look elsewhere email marketing after Mailchimp suspended their account “They cited ‘harmful information’ as the reason for the suspension” said Dillon “but said it was a mistake and quickly reinstated our account. We have no interest in staying on a platform that’s looking for excuses to censor us by literally scanning the content of our emails. The reversal, in this case, gives us no confidence that it won’t happen again, and perhaps the suspension will be permanent next time. So we’re moving on to an email service provider that actually values free expression.”
Furthermore, they face an existential threat from Facebook, which has been working on refreshing their new social media policies to restrict what can and cannot be considered satire, with their oversight board explaining last week, as they work on crafting a framework for moderating satire:
…humor and satire are highly subjective across people and cultures, underscoring the importance of human review by individuals with cultural context. Stakeholders also told us that “intent is key,” though it can be tough to assess. Further, true satire does not “punch down”: the target of humorous or satirical content is often an indicator of intent. And if content is simply derogatory, not layered, complex, or subversive, it is not satire. Indeed, humor can be an effective mode of communicating hateful ideas.
It doesn’t take much to surmise who those targets that cannot be “punched down” on are, or how easily they could use that as a pretext to shut the site down.
Lastly, in a bit of positive news, they secured a victory against the New York Times, noting:
“We had a big win against The New York Times. In response to our demand letter, they removed their defamatory statements about us and updated the offending article with a correction. The significance of this can’t be overstated. If those statements had stayed in print, the social networks (and other vendors we work with) could have used them against us, citing them as cause for terminating our accounts. Instead, there’s now a ton of media coverage highlighting the fact that it was The New York Times—not us—that had been trafficking in misinformation.”