Trump on the morning of October 16 shared an article from the website, which publishes satirical articles on religion, current events and politics, claiming that Twitter shut down its operations to curb the spread of negative news about democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night,” he wrote. “Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T.”
Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News https://t.co/JPmjOrKPcr via @TheBabylonBee Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2020
Twitter and Facebook were accused in the last 48 hours of censoring unfavorable New York Post stories on Biden and his family, according to Fox News. Twitter also faced technical issues on October 15, when thousands of users complained their accounts were down, the outlet added.
The Babylon Bee article, titled “Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News,” expressed that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey “realized he had to take action” after a “particularly bad story” about the presidential candidate went viral — a possible nod toward a New York Post piece claiming to reveal emails showing a connection between Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business contacts and his father.
“Dorsey smashed a glass box in his office reading ‘Break In Case Of Bad Publicity For Democrats.’ Inside the case was a sledgehammer for smashing Twitter’s servers,” the Bee wrote. “Red alert — shut the servers down! Shut them all down!”
The site then joked that Dorsey started smashing as many computers as he could.
Trump’s retweet has been met with a mixed-bag of responses, with some arguing he knew it was satirical, while others lambasted him for sharing fake news.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Babylon Bee Is Similar in Style to the Onion
The Babylon Bee takes on the tone and format of a traditional news publication and is similar in style to The Onion.
The publication claims to be the “world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life,” its website reads.
In keeping with its satirical tone, The Babylon Bee also indicates that, “unlike other satire sites, everything we post is 100% verified by Snopes.com.”
2. Seth Dillon Is the CEO
Wrong. The Onion is a parody site like The Babylon Bee. https://t.co/mPPBygaoo0
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) October 16, 2020
Seth Dillon, the website’s CEO, took over the company in 2018, according to its About section.
“He oversees all the business stuff, like making sure the lights stay on and working us all to the bone, making us write so much satire that our eyes begin to bleed as he cackles maniacally and dives into a vault of cash,” The Babylon Bee says.
“He also writes a funny headline from time to time.”
3. The Washington Post Says the Bee Is ‘Fake News That’s Good for the Soul’
In April 2016, The Washington Post described The Babylon Bee as “fake news that’s good for the soul.”
The newspaper, highlighting several of The Bee’s most popular stories, says “the news is always fake but the stories are often true.”
It commended the writers for nailing smart and sarcastic headlines that “poke fun at the foibles of churchgoers,” including a story claiming megachurch pastor Steven Furtick got lost in his mansion and canceled a book signing, as well as a piece about Pope Francis announcing cats as Christians.
4. The Babylon Bee Was Created by Adam Ford in 2016
The satirical site was launched by Adam Ford, a web comic who hails from Detroit, in 2016, according to his social media.
In 2018, Ford sold the site to Dillon over concerns about the power Facebook and other social media giants have to censor content creators — specifically ones with conservative and Christian viewpoints, he explained in an announcement on his personal website.
“The power that Facebook held over me as a content creator began to make me very uneasy,” he said.
“Facebook has the power to kill publishers, and they do, not only based on publishing techniques, but based on worldview. Just think about that,” Ford added.
5. The Babylon Bee Has Run Into Several Controversies With Snopes.com
Really, Facebook?? pic.twitter.com/HEtBc7C0Gz
— Adam Ford (@Adam4d) March 2, 2018
Snopes.com, a fact-checking website, has analyzed several satirical articles from The Babylon Bee — some of which have been met with controversy.
In March 2018, The Babylon Bee published an article joking that CNN used an industrial-sized washing machine to “spin” the news.
Snopes later fact-checked the article and rated it “false.” Using this fact-check, Facebook then threatened to censor and limit The Babylon Bee’s content distribution and monetization.
Ford tweeted a screenshot of the warning message to his followers, writing, “Really, Facebook??”
Facebook quickly apologized, according to The Washington Post, stating “[t]here’s a difference between false news and satire. This was a mistake and should not have been rated false in our system. It’s since been corrected and won’t count against the domain in any way.”