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You may have seen this story. Babylon Bee Twitter Account suspended

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Yesterday, Twitter suspended the account of satirical site The Babylon Bee for a post that jokingly named Rachel Levine, the transgender Assistant Secretary for Health, “Man of the Year.” 

 

Twitter is obviously a zillion times bigger than this forum. But I can roughly relate to them as we both have to moderate our platform.

I will say if someone had posted on this forum the post Babylon Bee did, they would get a suspension from here. But not a permanent suspension. (I don't know what Twitter has done in this case)

BUT we're also way different than Twitter as Twitter is a zillion times larger and more important as a communication platform. 

I'm glad I don't have to decide how to moderate satirical posts on Twitter. 

If you ran Twitter, what would you do in this case?

Edited by Joe Bryant
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1 minute ago, Joe Bryant said:

You may have seen this story. Babylon Bee Twitter Account suspended

 

Twitter is obviously a zillion times bigger than this forum. But I can roughly relate to them as we both have to moderate our platform.

I will say if someone had posted on this forum the post Babylon Bee did, they would get a suspension from here. But not a permanent suspension. (I don't know what Twitter has done in this case)

BUT we're also way different than Twitter as Twitter is a zillion times larger and more important as a communication platform. 

I'm glad I don't have to decide how to moderate satirical posts on Twitter. 

If you ran Twitter, what would you do in this case?

Hey Joe - Without commenting on the rest (yet), I believe the answer to the bolded is that Twitter stated it would unban the account if the account deleted the offending tweet.  As I understand it, so far, Babylon Bee has refused to comply.

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2 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

Man, that’s painfully bad. It’s The Onion if the Onion ate paint chips for its entire life.

I wouldn’t have suspended the account, though. But I wasn’t in the room when they brainstormed what might constitute hateful content within their TOS.

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Here is Twitter's policy on "Hateful Conduct" (what they were locked for apparently): https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/hateful-conduct-policy

Bolded might be the part that they violated:

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Repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone

We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals. We also prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. In some cases, such as (but not limited to) severe, repetitive usage of slurs, epithets, or racist/sexist tropes where the primary intent is to harass or intimidate others, we may require Tweet removal. In other cases, such as (but not limited to) moderate, isolated usage where the primary intent is to harass or intimidate others, we may limit Tweet visibility as further described below.
 

 

 

Edited by Juxtatarot
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 Just because someone says something you do not like does not mean you get to punish or cancel them.

If it is your goal to feed their confirmation bias, accentuate differences and enhance divisions, then by all means.

This notion that we should never be offended is just absolute excrement. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

I think irreverent satire is a lot more defensible if it's funny. That's where the Bee went wrong here.

Babylon Bee is the dude in the high school locker room who snaps yer beehind with a towel and thinks it's funny. He laughs, you don't.

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Twitter may have been put in the position to act because of users smashing the report button which is probably something the admins here have to deal with as well.

I voted definitely would not suspend because I have the luxury of making this decision in a vacuum, so I can state my position free from the business ramifications they might face at Twitter.

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No they shouldn't be but Twitter has never been very consistent with their TOS. It's worded in a way to make it so they can basically ban anyone for any reason at any time without equal application. 

Unfortunately they are the largest at what they do and platforms that have tried to compete either gain little traction or are eliminated by the oligarchy as a threat to their market share. So nothing anyone can do about it except not use it.

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18 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

I think irreverent satire is a lot more defensible if it's funny. That's where the Bee went wrong here.

It would also be defensible if they had simply stated forthrightly that Rachel Levine is a man.  Truthfulness is always defensible, whether it's funny or not.

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17 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

I think irreverent satire is a lot more defensible if it's funny. That's where the Bee went wrong here.

Yeah, some of their stuff is funny, but this didn't come close to making me laugh.

I found their follow up to be funnier: https://babylonbee.com/news/taliban-spokesman-finally-banned-from-twitter-after-sharing-babylon-bee-headline

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1 minute ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Of course not.  This is fine.

(Usual disclaimer that it's Twitter's site so they get to set the rules -- I would just write the rules differently if it was my site.)

 

Would you scrap the entire Hateful Contact policy? Just that one line? Completely rewrite it?

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This subject(transgender) is such a firestorm right now, but there are certainly opportunities for humor.  I guess my only beef with it is that they went at an individual.  It just feels mean spirited to me.

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interesting ... shunning, bullying, discrediting, shaming, alienating etc someone/somethng (Babylon Bee) because their point of view/opinion/action is decided to be unacceptable

isn't that what we're supposed to be trying to NOT do ?  accept, tolerate, understand, include etc .... even the opinions/views we disagree with ?

 

If I were Twitter I'd follow the money I imagine ... if it made more financial sense to ban them, I'd do that and if it made more financial sense to allow it, I'd do that too. Big entities like that often follow their money sources IMO

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1. Twitter sucks. 
2. The Babylon Bee is awful and unfunny. 
3. Twitter can do what it likes. It’s not censorship, it’s not “cancelling”. It’s a private company. 
4. While there are many positives to social media I’m convinced the world would be a better place if Twitter never existed. 
5. Did I mention Twitter sucked? 

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40 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

Would you scrap the entire Hateful Contact policy? Just that one line? Completely rewrite it?

I don't think there's anything hateful about pointing out Rachel Levine is a guy.  I'm a guy.  Many of my best friends are guys.  Guys are great.  

Actually, didn't you and I have a brief exchange a few days ago about whether it would be okay for a university to fire people who are secret members of the Nazi Party, and I said no because then the definition of "Nazi" would expand to include everyone to the right of Hillary Clinton?  This is an awesome example of exactly that dynamic.  Banning "hateful content" sounds reasonable at first glance, but there's a problem when you expand that definition so broadly to encompass the anodyne observation that biological sex is a real thing that doesn't change just because a small number of people would like it to. 

Edited by IvanKaramazov
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23 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

 

Would you scrap the entire Hateful Contact policy? Just that one line? Completely rewrite it?

Since they seem to only use it to go after political ideologies and not actual harmful people (they allow pedophiles to openly sell their product on Twitter), I would say the entire policy is useless. 

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They can get the account back by deleting the tweet, but they won’t do that because now they get to participate in the time honored right-wing tradition of playing the victim and grifting.

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16 minutes ago, timschochet said:

1. Twitter sucks. 
2. The Babylon Bee is awful and unfunny. 
3. Twitter can do what it likes. It’s not censorship, it’s not “cancelling”. It’s a private company. 
4. While there are many positives to social media I’m convinced the world would be a better place if Twitter never existed. 
5. Did I mention Twitter sucked? 

 

If you follow people who are terrible, your Twitter feed is going to be terrible.

If you follow only people who are awesome, your Twitter feed should be great.

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46 minutes ago, Insein said:

No they shouldn't be but Twitter has never been very consistent with their TOS. It's worded in a way to make it so they can basically ban anyone for any reason at any time without equal application. 

Unfortunately they are the largest at what they do and platforms that have tried to compete either gain little traction or are eliminated by the oligarchy as a threat to their market share. So nothing anyone can do about it except not use it.

 

Platforms that try to compete very predictably gain little traction because they quickly realize that moderation is a necessary part of all of this and that their entire userbase is full of internet trolls that have been legitimately kicked off of other platforms and need to constantly be moderated, so the "no censorship" platforms end up moderating and banning people at 10x the rate of the "censorship" platforms they aim to replace.

Edited by FreeBaGeL
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2 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

 

If you follow people who are terrible, your Twitter feed is going to be terrible.

If you follow only people who are awesome, your Twitter feed should be great.

I wouldn’t know, I don’t follow anyone, 

But I don’t like the short messages. I think it’s just one contribution towards trying to address complex issues with short, simplistic sound bytes. Just another way to shorten our attention spans. I hate it. 

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You want to learn about race or transgender issues? Read a good book on the subject, preferably a long one that deals with all of the complexities involved, and some of the history. If you don’t have time for that read a lengthy article or two on the subject from somebody respectable. But don’t rely on Twitter. You’ll only get simplistic crap, IMO. 

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Moderation is always going to be something people argue about it.  There's just no way to apply it exactly evenly and exactly the same all the time.  Ultimately every case boils down to a person's judgment on something, no different than the judicial system which has 1000x more clearly written laws to base their rulings off of but can still get completely opposite results from one similar case to another.

Whether it be FBG, Twitter, or 12 year olds on a video game forum there are always going to be inconsistencies in moderation and a very vocal subgroup that walks that tightrope, acts like a troll, eventually hits a moderator that doesn't want to put up with it, and then cries to the world that they are being unfairly treated.  Like a little baby that didn't get a treat tonight even though he thought he ate a good dinner when his brother got a treat for eating almost the same amount 4 days ago.

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:

I wouldn’t know, I don’t follow anyone, 

But I don’t like the short messages. I think it’s just one contribution towards trying to address complex issues with short, simplistic sound bytes. Just another way to shorten our attention spans. I hate it. 

I get that concern, but Twitter is way better than you might expect from the brevity requirements.  The character restrictions force people to be direct in whatever arguments they want to make, and a lot of posts take the form of pointing people toward interesting stories, blog posts, etc. that you might not see otherwise.  If you followed the right people, you were consistently weeks ahead of the CDC during the pandemic, for example.  (Of course, if you followed the wrong people, you were stockpiling ivermectin, so YMMV I guess).

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20 minutes ago, timschochet said:

1. Twitter sucks. 
2. The Babylon Bee is awful and unfunny. 
3. Twitter can do what it likes. It’s not censorship, it’s not “cancelling”. It’s a private company. 
4. While there are many positives to social media I’m convinced the world would be a better place if Twitter never existed. 
5. Did I mention Twitter sucked? 

Why do you think Twitter sucks?  It’s basically just a ‘choose your own adventure’ information site. Nobody is forcing you to follow Kim Kardashian. 

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:

You want to learn about race or transgender issues? Read a good book on the subject, preferably a long one that deals with all of the complexities involved, and some of the history. If you don’t have time for that read a lengthy article or two on the subject from somebody respectable. But don’t rely on Twitter. You’ll only get simplistic crap, IMO. 

For example, I never would have encountered this article if it hadn't been pointed out to me on Twitter.  Stock's argument may be wrong in whole or in part, but it's not simplistic crap.

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1 minute ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I get that concern, but Twitter is way better than you might expect from the brevity requirements.  The character restrictions force people to be direct in whatever arguments they want to make, and a lot of posts take the form of pointing people toward interesting stories, blog posts, etc. that you might not see otherwise.  If you followed the right people, you were consistently weeks ahead of the CDC during the pandemic, for example.  (Of course, if you followed the wrong people, you were stockpiling ivermectin, so YMMV I guess).

Again I wouldn’t know for sure but my guess is that most people simply follow whoever they already like, and if we’re talking politics it’s just another form of confirmation bias- but an even more simplistic and dumber form than any other I can think of. 

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2 minutes ago, Dickies said:

Why do you think Twitter sucks?  It’s basically just a ‘choose your own adventure’ information site. Nobody is forcing you to follow Kim Kardashian. 

There are so many reasons. But one of them is that people on it tend to make impulsive comments, many of which they would like to take back later but sorry too late. For the health of both our politics and culture I don’t find this to be a good thing. 

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2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Again I wouldn’t know for sure but my guess is that most people simply follow whoever they already like, and if we’re talking politics it’s just another form of confirmation bias- but an even more simplistic and dumber form than any other I can think of. 

Well, that's true.  If you want to construct a little bubble for yourself, Twitter certainly allows you to do so.  

On the other hand, if you want viewpoint diversity, Twitter is awesome.  

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4 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

For example, I never would have encountered this article if it hadn't been pointed out to me on Twitter.  Stock's argument may be wrong in whole or in part, but it's not simplistic crap.

You’re a thoughtful guy and you’re always going to seek out thoughtful information, whatever your sources to it are. As @Joe Bryant correctly pointed out (though on a different subject) most people simply read the headlines. 

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Completely different than censoring something similar in a G-rated forum.  A site that let's women (or guys, or other) put out all types of XXX content is all concerned about a man vs. women joke.  For every one tweet they ban in the name of being woke, there are thousands worse that haven't hit the woke radar.  Hypocrites to the 10 degree. 

Edited by PhillipPhoto
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36 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Banning "hateful content" sounds reasonable at first glance, but there's a problem when you expand that definition so broadly to encompass the anodyne observation that biological sex is a real thing that doesn't change just because a small number of people would like it to. 

 

Babylon Bee's post was not an anodyne observation.  

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Editor-in-Chief Kyle Mann says the ban was for "hateful content" when in reality it was a joke that conveyed the truth.  Calls it completely living in bizzaro and clown world.  Says they will not delete the tweet to get their account back.  The will appeal and fight it in all other ways without deleting the tweet.  Mentions that you can find them on other outlets including Truth Social.

Edited by PhillipPhoto
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3 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

Babylon Bee's post was not an anodyne observation.  

I strongly disagree.  

"This biological male is actually a woman" is a deeply weird statement that should require some unpacking and argumentation to get out of the starting blocks.  I don' want to see that point of view suppressed, but it has some hurdles to overcome. 

"This biological male is a man" is boringly accurate.

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12 minutes ago, ekbeats said:

Ultimately we are going to end up with two sets of everything in this country - one for Conservatives and the other for Liberals.  Two nations in one country.  Lovely.

Divorce is coming.  

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1 minute ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I strongly disagree.  

"This biological male is actually a woman" is a deeply weird statement that should require some unpacking and argumentation to get out of the starting blocks.  I don' want to see that point of view suppressed, but it has some hurdles to overcome. 

"This biological male is a man" is boringly accurate.


Why would a satire site publish something to be “boringly accurate?”  Clearly they were going for something here.

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3 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I strongly disagree.  

"This biological male is actually a woman" is a deeply weird statement that should require some unpacking and argumentation to get out of the starting blocks.  I don' want to see that point of view suppressed, but it has some hurdles to overcome. 

"This biological male is a man" is boringly accurate.

 

Perhaps you mean it "should be" an anodyne observation?  If it truly was an anodyne observation, it wouldn't have been a joke.

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2 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:


Why would a satire site publish something to be “boringly accurate?”  Clearly they were going for something here.

Yeah.  They're skewering people who don't see that.  It's a "the emperor has no clothes" thing.

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IIRC the Bee's Tweet/article were a satirical take on a  magazine (Time?) naming this person woman of the year or something like that.  Like it or not, funny or not, it was a valid satirical take.  Some people in today's society need to learn to take a joke.  The world is a better place with humor in it, whether you like a particular joke or not.

Edited by John123
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  • Joe Bryant changed the title to Twitter and Elon Musk

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