Popular Christian satire website The Babylon Bee was briefly suspended from Twitter on Monday night after being falsely labelled as 'spam'. The site, known for its increasingly conservative political leanings, has developed a massive following on social media and, as such, the temporary suspension caused uproar across the Twittersphere.
The news was broken by the Bee's editor-in-chief, Kyle Mann, who shared an image of the notification received by Twitter.
The site's CEO, Seth Dillon, later revealed that Twitter has mistakenly suspended the website's account and apologised for the inconvenience.
"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," Twitter 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."
Kyle Mann told Premier: The outcry from our fans and followers was immediate, and we believe this prompted Twitter to take quick action to lift the suspension. Similar suspensions have taken down other parody and satire accounts over the past week or so, so it does seem to be some kind of targeted purge.
"While things turned out well for us this time, next time it might not go our way. We remain deeply concerned about censorship on social media platforms, and we believe the sudden unilateral suspension of major conservative accounts only proves our point, temporary or not, "mistake" or intentional."
Since being reinstated, the Bee's Twitter account has garnered almost 100,000 new followers, presumably as a show of support in light of the censoring incident.
During the suspension, many voiced their strong support for the website and its satirical mission.
"Ridiculous. A clearly satirical publication (which is hilarious) has been censored. #freethebee," one person wrote. "Seems like @Twitter only allows satire they approve of..." another added, noting that fellow satire site 'The Onion' was still live on the platform.
The Bee's founder, Adam Ford, also seemed to suggest that Twitter had stopped the publication from trending after mistakenly suspending their account. "'Babylon Bee' was also trending 2 minutes ago and now it's not," he wrote. Many replied to his comments saying that the subject was still trending on their accounts.
After their account was restored, the Bee made a joke that Twitter had destroyed their headquarters with a drone strike.