Facebook is standing by its decision to demonetize The Babylon Bee, a Christian satire site, over a satirical article repeating a witch joke from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Facebook claimed that the article “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch” actually “incites violence.” The social media platform demanded that the Babylon Bee edit the article and not speak publicly about the review, but Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon went public.
“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,’” Dillon tweeted. “It’s literally a regurgitated joke from a Monty Python movie!”
“In what universe does a fictional quote as part of an obvious joke constitute a genuine incitement to violence?” the CEO asked. “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 that the Babylon Bee expected Facebook to reverse its actions once a person reviewed the article.
“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,” he said. “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.”
“This situation raises a serious question about double standards,” Dillon said. “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?”
“Facebook says in their community standards that they take context into account when evaluating threats and incitements to violence. The evidence here suggests otherwise,” he argued.
Facebook demonetized the Babylon Bee, preventing the organization from using features that would allow it to make money off of its content on the platform.