On Oct. 16, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to have presented a satirical article as if it were a genuine news story on Twitter. The president shared a link to an article from the Babylon Bee, a well-known satire site, claiming that Twitter had shut down its entire network in order to slow the spread of negative news about presidential candidate Joe Biden, and accompanied this satirical link with a piece of text that read: “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T.”
A few hours later, Trump posted a follow-up tweet to clarify some of the confusion surrounding his original posting. Trump clarified that “Big T” was a reference to Big Technology. Trump did not clarify that his news source was a satire site:
The article Trump shared originated with the satire site the Babylon Bee. This website does not publish factual content. Rather, the Babylon Bee describes itself as “the world’s best satire site” with a focus on satirical articles about “Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.” Here’s a description from the site’s About page:
The Babylon Bee is the world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.
While the Babylon Bee is a well-known satire site, its content is often circulated as if it were genuine news by readers who may have missed the joke. For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.