Snopes fact-checked a "claim" made in a clearly satirical Bee story titled, "Did CNN Purchase an Industrial-Sized Washing Machine to Spin News?"
"On 1 March 2018, the Babylon Bee web site published an article reporting that CNN had made a significant investment in heavy machinery to assist their journalists 'spin' the news they report," the Snopes article reads. "Although it should have been obvious that the Babylon Bee piece was just a spoof of the ongoing political brouhaha over alleged news media 'bias' and 'fake news,' some readers missed that aspect of the article and interpreted it literally. But the site's footer gives away the Babylon Bee's nature by describing it as 'Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire.'"
Not long after, Adam Ford, the Babylon Bee's founder, was notified by Facebook that if his website published more "disputed info" on the social media platform, it would lead to demonetization and reduced reach (the number of Facebook users who will see their content in news feeds).
"Snopes has 'fact-checked' several of our articles before, but this is the first time Facebook has used that to threaten us with reduced reach and demonetization," Ford said.
Responding to criticism that it shouldn't flag satire sites for Facebook, Snopes wrote that "nearly every fake news site claims to be 'satirical' in nature, so that approach would put us in a position of having to be the Facebook arbiters of what is or is not 'real' satire. That's something for Facebook to decide, not us."
Snopes and Facebook have been previous subjects of Babylon Bee stories such as "Snopes Launches New Website To Fact-Check Snopes Fact Checks," and "Mark Zuckerberg Finishes Another Long Day Of Deciding What People Should Believe."
The undaunted Bee writers responded to the incident with its usual brand of witty humor in a story titled, "Facebook Sends Warm Reminder To Publishers That It Is In Complete Control Of Their Livelihood."