Don’t be fooled: They’re not just entertaining to watch. Diamond and Silk — two conservative sisters from North Carolina with a vast online following — have a goal, and they’re talking about it. That’s what they do.
The outspoken duo, whose names came up repeatedly during Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings last week, are poised to offer solutions they believe will help the social media giant live up to its goal of serving as a “platform for all ideas,” as Facebook’s CEO likes to call it.
They’re asking Zuckerberg to meet with them to talk it out.
“When you are right, you fight. But you fight for solutions,” the women told LifeZette in a telephone interview this week. “And we do have solutions. At the end of the day, we can solve this problem. We want to sit down and we want to meet with Mark Zuckerberg, because we have some solutions.”
The video bloggers are quick to note the obvious hypocrisy in Facebook’s statements about fairness to all viewpoints.
“[Facebook] tells us that the platform is for all ideas, and then they put these algorithms in place to suppress our ideas. I think that’s wrong,” said Rochelle Richardson (pictured above right), otherwise known as Silk.
“[Our] voices are being silenced on pretty much all these platforms,” said Lynette Hardaway, known as Diamond (above left).
Silk was referring to a pattern that was confirmed in a recent study by Media Research Center (MRC). Brent Bozell, MRC’s founder, explained that its documentation supports what many users have long suspected: Conservative voices are systematically suppressed on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Google/YouTube.
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Diamond and Silk say they have had personal experience with that suppression — and have had quite enough of it. Though the reach of their Facebook audience has been a problem for the pair since September 2017, the issues extend to other social platforms, too.
“YouTube demonetized our platform … back in August of 2017,” said Diamond. She explained that about 90 percent of their content on the video-sharing platform had been pegged as “not suitable for all advertisers.” The result of being saddled that way? The pair take a financial loss.
On the plus side, the women said that their issues with Facebook may be resolving. Earlier this week, they aired a live stream of their weekly “Chit Chat Live” show. “The numbers looked better than they have in a long time,” Diamond noted.
Still, she’s not convinced they’re out of the woods yet. “We are noticing that [our followers] are still having complaints [about failure to receive notification of new content] … So Facebook needs to take a look at that and resolve those matters. But it looks like they’re trying to do what they’re supposed to do.”
Diamond and Silk are certainly justified in their worries about the business and financial impact of the alleged suppression of their content across social media platforms.
“The sad thing is, you tell us to bring ourselves up by our bootstraps, but you use those same bootstraps to hang us out to dry,” said Silk. “We built this thing from nothing. From absolutely nothing — to this. And we’re doing this and trying to achieve the American dream, just like Mark Zuckerberg.”
But the financial impact is only part of what’s driving the duo to push for more fairness on social media platforms. The women believe that politically motivated suppression in general could have “a huge impact” on the midterm elections.
“You have to let all voices speak … people can come to their own conclusion.”
They see algorithms as more than the neutral math a business owner employs on a website. That math — those algorithms — have the potential to determine who takes a seat as a representative of the American people. In Diamond and Silk’s opinion, that is unacceptable.
“When you’re open to the public, you cannot discriminate against anybody based on their political affiliation,” they emphasized. “You have to let all voices speak, and then people can come to [their own] conclusion. [Facebook should not] make the conclusion [about] what people should see and what they shouldn’t see.”
Just so you know, we will always have our Presidents back.
"Don't Get It Twisted!"
(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) pic.twitter.com/d5YwEqbT3g
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) March 24, 2018
Silk said the sisters’ reach on Facebook dropped considerably following the implementation of the site’s latest algorithms. “There was a time that whenever we’d drop a video, we would get a million [views] at least by the end of that day or at the end of that week. Now we’re lucky if we get about 30,000 views.”
Diamond and Silk are entrepreneurs and results-driven — just as Zuckerberg is for his own business. The sisters’ ideas for solutions include addressing troll farms (groups that systematically create conflict or disruption with provocative, inflammatory comments), revisiting the latest algorithms, making Facebook-to-user communications more transparent and direct, and taking steps to ensure fans of various pages receive the content notifications they’ve requested.
In a nutshell, they’re asking Zuckerberg to meet with them to discuss implementing these and/or other solutions in an effort to “stop silencing and censoring conservative voices.”
So the ball is in Zuckerburg’s court. Will he “like” this idea — and even meet with two black conservative Trump supporters who are motivated to help make Facebook a true platform for all ideas? Or not?
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.