On Tuesday, Christian comic writer Adam Ford announced he had sold the popular satire website “The Babylon Bee” for a variety of reasons. While Ford said he sold the Bee for personal as well as ideological reasons, his statement emphasized his battle against the “tyranny over information” stemming from the centralization of the Internet around sites like Facebook and Google.
Ford noted that the Babylon Bee succeeded largely thanks to social media and Facebook in particular, “but the power that Facebook held over me as a content creator began to make me very uneasy,” he said in an extended statement. The Christian comic artist likened Facebook to a mob boss.
“To become a successful content creator you have to use Facebook, and using Facebook, especially if you’re a Christian and/or a conservative, is sort of like going to a mafia loan shark for $10,000,” the comic artist wrote. “They’re happy to give it to you, just like Facebook will gladly give you the opportunity for your content to go viral on their massive platform. But then, if it does, they own you. You have to conform to their rules and their worldview, and jump through every hoop they put in front of you, if you want to remain a successful content creator.”
Ominously, Ford added, “Facebook has the power to kill publishers, and they do, not only based on publishing techniques, but based on worldview.”
He warned that “Facebook and Google have a practical duopoly on information.”
The liberal and secular bias of tech companies has revealed itself time and again: James Damore’s lawsuit recalled Google hosting events supporting weird sexual identities, a survey of Silicon Valley employees found conservatives terrified to express themselves, Wikipedia was named “censor of the year” for twisting the truth on intelligent design, and various tech companies have blacklisted conservatives following the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s slanted “hate group” list.
Discussing this bias, Ford declared, “I think the centralization of the internet is one of the greatest threats to the spread of the gospel, and the well-being of mankind, that we face today. Maybe the single biggest threat. It is tyranny over information.”
“It’s a handful of people who are hostile to the Christian message and the plight of the individual deciding what’s good and bad, true and false. It’s never been seen before on this scale,” the Christian comic artist wrote.
“I have come to a place where I no longer feel morally OK being a part of the Facebook and Google machine, and because of their surveillance-capitalism business models, just existing on their platforms makes me a paying customer,” Ford explained.
To counter all of this, he has launched a site called the Christian Daily Reporter (CDR). “If you’re unfamiliar with it, the Christian Daily Reporter is a Drudge-Report-style news aggregator which I constantly update to provide a snapshot of what you need to know right now,” Ford wrote.
CDR “harkens back to a time before the internet was centralized and controlled by a few behemoths (who, by the way, don’t like Christians and don’t like conservatives). Not playing by their rules has allowed me to make a bare-bones web page that has all the functionality of a massive news site,” he explained.
While the Christian comic artist admitted he does not know how he will expand CDR’s reach without social media, he said he has been “focusing on making it so good that people want to come back every day.” He has launched a Patreon account, allowing readers to support the project financially.
Ford also listed personal reasons for selling the Bee. He said he “hates” the attention that comes from the popular satire site. He also explained that the Bee’s success made it into a business, and he “didn’t want to run a growing company.” Finally, he said the project had taken over his life. “I hardly had time to eat lunch, let alone draw a comic when I wanted to. I miss that. I want to be able to draw comics again when I feel like it.”
The Christian comic artist announced that he had sold the Babylon Bee weeks ago. He retained some stake in the company, along with the rights to the new book “How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living.” Christian entrepreneur Seth Dillon is the new majority owner, and Kyle Mann, who has been with the Bee since the beginning, has taken Ford’s place as full-time editor and publisher.