Facebook has apologized for taking down a post by the conservative satirical website the Babylon Bee that mocked Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono’s treatment of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Fox News reports.
“This was a mistake and we apologize that it happened. Satire can be difficult for our systems to identify, but we’ve restored the article and their ability to monetize,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
On October 14, the Babylon Bee posted a link to an article titled “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch.”
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon shared online that Facebook had taken down the post and even demonetized the Bee’s page saying the post violated Facebook’s rules of “inciting violence.”
The initial decision was made by an algorithm, but that was followed by ah human “manual review,” which confirmed the decision.
“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,” Dillon wrote. “They say this article ‘incites violence.’ It’s literally a regurgitated joke from a Monty Python movie!”
The post was a reference to conservative criticism of Hirono, D-Hawaii, who during questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the recently deceased liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, asked Barrett if she had ever sexually assaulted anyone — an allegation that has never been publicly leveled against her — and and also rebuked her over her past use of the tern “sexual preference” in reference to the LGBTQ community, saying it is now considered outdated. Barrett apologized and said she never intended to hurt anyone by using the term.
The Bee wrote about the exchange as though it were a witch trial:
“After two days of Amy Coney Barrett gracefully and stoically answering questions with perfect recall and no notes, suspicions grew on Capitol Hill that she might be a practitioner of the dark arts.
“Oh, she’s a witch alright, just look at her!” the Bee has Hirono saying. “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!”
Hirono then, according to the Bee “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.'”
Dillon said he he was not satisfied with Facebook’s response, telling Fox, “Why did it have to take getting the media involved to fix this? And why did it happen in the first place? This was not just an algorithm flagging an article in error. 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.”
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