Facebook apologizes for removing Babylon Bee satire mocking Sen. Hirono, says it was a 'mistake'

'Satire can be difficult for our systems to identify. . .,' a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News

Facebook offered an apology after it took down a post from the conservative satirical site The Babylon Bee that mocked Sen. Mazie Hirono's treatment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett during last week's Supreme Court confirmation hearing. 

On October 14, the Bee ran a story with the headline, "Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch," alluding to the intense grilling Barrett faced from Hawaii's junior senator. But Bee CEO Seth Dillon revealed the lengthy battle his site had with Facebook, which resulted in the removal of the post and demonetizing the conservative site as punishment for allegedly "inciting violence."

"So after a manual review, Facebook says they stand by their decision to pull down this article and demonetize our page. I'm not kidding," Dillon wrote on Tuesday. "They say this article 'incites violence.' It's literally a regurgitated joke from a Monty Python movie!"

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Facebook offered a mea culpa in a statement to Fox News on Wednesday evening. 

"This was a mistake and we apologize that it happened. Satire can be difficult for our systems to identify, but we've restored the article and their ability to monetize," a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News. 

Despite the apology from the social media giant, Dillon expressed to Fox News that he still had unresolved questions. 

"Why did it have to take getting the media involved to fix this? And why did it happen in the first place?" Dillon asked in response to Facebook. "This was not just an algorithm flagging an article in error. Yes, that happened. But then a manual review took place and the ruling to penalize us was upheld. I notice they left that part out."

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Dillon continued, "The issue here isn't that we've actually violated Facebook's community standards. It's that Facebook is reaching — stretching as hard as they can — to treat us as if we've violated them. Why?"

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During the confirmation hearing, Hirono raised eyebrows for how she treated Barrett, asking the judge if she had ever "sexually assaulted" anyone and scolded the nominee for using the term "sexual preference" to describe the LGBTQ community, which Barrett apologized for. 

The Bee jokingly characterized the exchange between the Trump nominee and the Senate Democrat by comparing it to a witch's trial. 

"After two days of Amy Coney Barrett gracefully and stoically answering questions with perfect recall and no notes, suspicions grew on Capitol Hill that she might be a practitioner of the dark arts," the Bee's satirical report began. 

"Oh, she's a witch alright, just look at her!" the Bee fictitiously quoted Hirono. "Just look at the way she's dressed and how she's so much prettier and smarter than us! She's in league with Beelzebub himself, I just know it! We must burn her!"

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According to the satirical piece, Hirono "then pulled a live duck out of a massive burlap sack next to her and announced: 'In addition to being a Senator, I am also quite wise in the ways of science. Everyone knows witches burn because they are made of wood. I think I read that somewhere. Wood floats, and so do ducks-- so logically, if Amy Coney Barrett weighs as much as this duck I found in the reflection pool outside, she is a witch and must be burned.'"

The image attached to the article is a clearly photoshopped image of Hirono at the hearing with a duck by her side.