The Babylon Bee isn’t joking around this time.
The humor site, along with a related news site called Not the Bee, recently filed a totally serious legal brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the justices should do what they can to combat censorship on social media.
What is ‘The Babylon Bee’?
The Babylon Bee is a satirical news website that aims to entertain readers with its fake headlines. Think of it like The Onion with more faith-related jokes.
Here’s a sampling of headlines from its list of recent stories:
- Ted Cruz grows out mutton chops in preparation for Civil War.
- Nikki Haley announces she has won New Hampshire by negative 12 points.
- Cartels switch from smuggling meth to more lucrative Stanley tumblers.
Not the Bee is an offshoot of The Babylon Bee that shares real news that seems stranger than fiction. Both sites focus on attracting a politically conservative audience.
Supreme Court social media cases
In their Supreme Court brief, The Babylon Bee and Not the Bee argue that the justices should uphold two challenged laws that aim to regulate social media companies.
The laws, which were enacted in Florida and Texas in 2021, were designed to combat perceived censorship of politically conservative social media posts, in particular, according to Scotusblog.
“The Texas law, known as HB20, bars social-media platforms with at least 50 million active users from blocking, removing, or ‘demonetizing’ content based on the users’ views. The Florida law, known as SB7072 or the Stop Social Media Censorship Act, prohibits social-media companies from banning political candidates and ‘journalistic enterprises,’” the Scotusblog article explains.
Technology companies sued to block both laws from taking effect, arguing that the policies interfere with their free speech rights.
Supporters of the laws describe them as an important step toward protecting social media users.
“These laws are basic consumer-protection regulations that simply hold social media platforms accountable to the image of neutrality that they project,” said Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute, one of the firms that worked on the brief for The Babylon Bee and Not the Bee.
Neither of the Bee websites are directly involved in the lawsuits. They are, instead, two of the many organizations that say they will be affected by the outcome of the battle and that, therefore, wanted to share their perspective with the Supreme Court in friend-of-the-court briefs.
“Both sites have experienced censorship and shadow-banning by social media platforms,” reads a statement from First Liberty Institute.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the social media laws on Feb. 26. The justices’ decision is expected to be released by the end of June.