On Thursday, the online integrated marketing company Mailchimp suspended The Babylon Bee’s account, claiming that the system detected “harmful information” in the Bee’s emails. After Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon shared the news on Twitter, Mailchimp apologized. It was too late, however.
“I’d email everyone to let them know [Mailchimp] just suspended our account but Mailchimp just suspended our account,” Dillon announced on Twitter. Like many other companies, The Babylon Bee uses Mailchimp to send out emails to its broad email list. Without Mailchimp, the Bee could not tell its subscribers that Mailchimp had suspended the satire site.
Shortly after Dillon shared the news on Twitter, Mailchimp responded, saying that the company had reinstated the account.
“Hey Seth. We got this in front of our Compliance team and they’ve reinstated the account. Our team followed up in an email with more details. We apologize for the inconvenience,” Mailchimp tweeted.
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 24, 2021
Dillon thanked the company for reinstating the Bee’s account, but he announced that The Babylon Bee will no longer require the services of Mailchimp.
“Thank you, but we’re moving to an email service provider that doesn’t make these ‘mistakes.’ We’d also prefer to be on a platform that doesn’t censor conservatives for being ‘hateful’ or ‘misinformative,’” the CEO shot back.
Thank you, but we’re moving to an email service provider that doesn’t make these “mistakes.” We’d also prefer to be on a platform that doesn’t censor conservatives for being “hateful” or “misinformative.” https://t.co/XSI9EUjOgc
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) June 24, 2021Dillon provided PJ Media with a screenshot of the email announcing the account’s reinstatement. In the email, Mailchimp provided an explanation for the suspension and its reversal.
“For some clarification, our automated prevention system, Omnivore, detected content, keywords, or activity that can indicate the possibility of harmful information being sent through our service,” the email reads.
“This was done out of caution, rather than for correction. It scans account and campaign content, and prompts human review so we can determine whether correction is needed, or, as is the case here, all’s well.”
“As such, upon review, your account has been reinstated for continued sending and we have taken additional precautions to ensure that this triggering does not reoccur.”
Screenshot of Mailchimp email to The Babylon Bee, courtesy of Seth Dillon.
The Babylon Bee has faced many biased attacks before.
Back in 2018, Snopes fact-checked a Babylon Bee satire article claiming that CNN had bought a washing machine to “spin the news.” Yes, seriously. After Snopes declared the article “false,” Facebook warned The Babylon Bee that “repeat offenders will see their distribution reduced.” Recently, The New York Times insinuated that The Babylon Bee is a “far-right misinformation site.” The Times apologized after the Bee threatened a lawsuit, but the “misinformation” smear seems rather persistent.
Snopes has also played satire police in attacking the Bee. In one instance, the fact-checking site declared, “We’re not sure if fanning the flames of controversy and muddying the details of a news story classify an article as ‘satire.’” It appears Snopes has been trying to deplatform the conservative satire site, in part by claiming that the Bee’s satire is somehow not satirical enough.
Facebook recently announced upcoming updates to its “satire exception” to its “Hate Speech Community Standard,” warning that “true satire does not ‘punch down.’” One week later, Slate published an article claiming that — you guessed it — The Babylon Bee “has a nasty tendency to punch down.” Facebook had previously demonetized the satire site, claiming that a satirical article that quoted Monty Python and the Holy Grail constituted an incitement to violence.
Big Tech companies — employees of which have a documented bias against conservatives — often censor conservative accounts, later claiming that the restrictions had been made “in error.”
It remains unclear whether or not Mailchimp singled out The Babylon Bee for adverse treatment, but Dillon’s suspicions make a great deal of sense. Perhaps other Big Tech companies will think twice about targeting the Bee.