Facebook has apologized to The Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical site the social media giant demonetized briefly this week for an old joke directed at Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono.
“Facebook reached out to us to apologize for having made a ‘mistake,’” Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon wrote in a note to readers Wednesday evening.
“They’ve lifted the restrictions on our account and restored the article they previously deleted,” Mr. Dillon said. “But questions remain. Why did it have to take getting the media involved to fix this? And why did it happen in the first place?”
Mr. Dillon blamed human actors for singling out the post, which played off a joke from the 1975 classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” It involved Ms. Hirono seeking to weigh Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett against a duck to see if Ms. Barrett was “a witch.”
“This was not just an algorithm flagging an article in error,” Mr. Dillon said. “A manual review took place, and the ruling to penalize us was upheld.”
Facebook did not respond to questions about how it handled the issue.
This is not the first time The Babylon Bee, which trends conservative in its humor, has clashed with social media companies that increasingly control the dissemination of news. The Bee has also had issued with Twitter, on which it has nearly three quarters of a million followers.
But this week’s flare up came at a time when Facebook and Twitter are under renewed scrutiny for their apparent attempts to smother stories by the New York Post. They claimed Joseph R. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, and his son, Hunter, allegedly profited off the elder Mr. Biden’s position as vice president under Barack Obama.
Both social media behemoths initially blocked links and references to The Post articles, which were derived from an old laptop Hunter Biden allegedly left at a Delaware computer repair shop. The laptop contained emails that appear to show companies in the Ukraine and China funneling millions to Hunter Biden in an effort to get close to the vice president.