Before a brief suspension on Monday, the conservative satire account was jeering at Democrats’ concerns about alleged voter suppression tactics by Donald Trump, who is seeking to curtail voting by mail.
Twitter has apologised after banning The Babylon Bee shortly after the popular fake news site mocked Kamala Harris and the Postal Service conspiracy.
“We’re writing to let you know that we’ve suspended your account. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and hope to see you back on Twitter soon”, the social media platform wrote.
“We have systems that find and remove multiple automated spam accounts in bulk, and yours was flagged as spam by mistake. Please note that it may take an hour or so for your follower and following numbers to return to normal”.
The Babylon Bee – a sort of The Onion for conservatives – went dark on Twitter at around 6 p.m. on Monday.
The site’s editor-in-chief shared a screenshot of Twitter’s notice saying that the account was suspended for “violating rules against platform manipulation and spam”.
— Kyle Mann (@The_Kyle_Mann) August 17, 2020
The last tweet before the ban linked to a story about Donald Trump driving around in an SUV and “smashing mailboxes with a baseball bat to make it impossible for people to mail in their ballots” – a jab at claims by Democrats that the president is trying to manipulate the election by curtailing mail-in voting.
An earlier tweet was about the new “affordable housing” plan by Senator Kamala Harris, the Democrats VP pick, which would provide every American with a free 10’x10′ room in a gated community with “high walls, barbed wire fencing, 24 hour surveillance, and dedicated guards”.
The ban sparked a massive outcry among conservatives, who sent the hashtag #FreeTheBee trending.
The account was back up less than an hour later, but with zero followers. “This account was mistakenly caught in a spam filter”, a Twitter spokesperson said. “This has been reversed and the account has been reinstated”.
There are more than 619,000 followers as of this publication – an increase from the 550,000 The Babylon Bee had before being suspended.
“We are back”, the site wrote. “Twitter destroyed our headquarters with a drone strike, but we are being assured it was an honest mistake”.