The Babylon Bee Sold; Former Owner Says Internet Centralization Big 'Threat' to Spread of Gospel
The former owner of the Babylon Bee is explaining why he sold the popular Christian satire site, saying that the centralization of the Internet is one of the most significant threats to the furtherance of the Gospel.
Writing on his website Tuesday, Adam Ford of adam4d.com — which is also a webcomic — said he opted to sell the site to a Christian entrepreneur named Seth Dillon, who is now majority owner. The transition has been coming for months as his friend Kyle Mann, who has been with the publication since the beginning and has been the head writer since September 2016, is now the full-time editor and publisher. While Ford still owns "a small piece" of the Babylon Bee and is involved "in a more limited capacity," he is no longer at the helm.
Ford elaborated that he made the move for several reasons, among them that he wanted to focus on publishing more on the Christian Daily Reporter, the Babylon Bee has become bigger than him, and he dislikes the attention that comes with the satire site. He also mentioned that he has become convicted about the large-scale problems with tech companies like Google and Facebook.
"I fully realize that a major reason the Bee (and my webcomic, for that matter) was able to blow up like it did was because of social media — Facebook in particular. This is just how it goes when you make things for the Internet: you create, you post to social media, you hope people like it and it spreads," he said.
"But the power that Facebook held over me as a content creator began to make me very uneasy."
He continued that in order to be a successful content creator you have to use Facebook, and likened using the social media company, especially if one holds Christian or conservative views, to "going to a mafia loan shark for $10,000."
"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 that success to continue, he said.
"Facebook has the power to kill publishers, and they do, not only based on publishing techniques, but based on worldview. Just think about that."
Beyond that, the entities of Google and Facebook present a grave threat to the Gospel given how much information they control on the web and how people access it, he argued.
"As a follower of Christ, I am primarily concerned with glorifying God, loving my neighbor, and spreading the gospel. I've thought about this deeply and carefully, and 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. I am no conspiracy theorist; never have been. From where I sit, this danger is as clear as day."
His concerns about these issues led him to launch the Christian Daily Reporter earlier this year, which he describes as "a daily source of news and information that lives outside the centralized tech-giant choke-hold."
Leaving the Babylon Bee was "bittersweet," and he could not have imagined how successful it would become, he said, adding he knows it is in good hands.
Ford told the Weekly Standard's Mark Hemingway earlier this month that he celebrated the two year anniversary of the publication on March 1 and days later he saw they had received 100 million page views.
On May 1, The Babylon Bee released its book How to Be A Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living.