‘Facebook’s Treatment of Diamond and Silk’ Is ‘Latest Example of Censoring Conservative Voices’
Zuckerberg testified his company had reached out to the duo about their page's problems — that was not their experience
Something isn’t adding up here.
Wednesday was day two of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings, and as with the Senate’s questioning on day one, members of the House of Representatives repeatedly referenced the social media giant’s reported squelching of Diamond and Silk on its platform.
The North Carolina-based sisters, Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — better known as the outspoken and entertaining conservative duo Diamond and Silk — gave their take on the situation during Wednesday night’s edition of “The Ingraham Angle.”
“Facebook’s treatment of Diamond and Silk is just the latest example of censoring conservative voices,” said Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
When she asked them if Zuckerberg’s statement to Congress that Facebook had contacted them to resolve their alleged censoring situation was true, the duo chorused, “No.”
“We have not been in communication with Facebook,” Diamond emphasized. “That was a lie.”
Silk explained that the pair's Facebook fans continue to have issues with liking and following their page. "The algorithms are still there. Nothing has been resolved."
If Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) scathing accusations the other day of Facebook's alleged systematic conservative bias turned on the heat, a cadre of successive lawmakers from the House Energy & Commerce Committee dialed that up even more on the second and final day of the Zuckerberg hearings. Diamond and Silk were on the front burner.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) asked Zuckerberg about the Trump-supporting pundit pair during Wednesday's hearings. He referred to Facebook's designation of them unsafe as "ludicrous."
Zuckerberg responded, "Congressman, in that specific case, our team made an enforcement error. And we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it."
Not so, according to Diamond and Silk. At about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, the pair tweeted that Facebook hadn't been in touch with them since April 5, when they received the communication that they had been designated as "unsafe to the community." They reiterated this message again Wednesday night on "The Ingraham Angle."
"Congressman, nothing is unsafe about that," answered Mark Zuckerberg earlier in the day when Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) asked what was unsafe about two black women who support Donald J. Trump.
Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) got straight to the heart of the matter during her questioning.
Blackburn asked the billionaire if his company subjectively manipulated its algorithms to prioritize or censor speech. Zuckerberg ducked the uncomfortable question — the answer to which sizable swaths of conservatives believe to be "yes."
Zuckerberg said he didn't regard what Facebook does as censoring. He then tried to deflect by mentioning a related point of mutual agreement — namely, that terrorism is something no one would want to see on Facebook.
The dodge-and-weave backfired. Blackburn interjected.
"Let me tell you something right now. 'Diamond and Silk' is not terrorism," she declared flatly.
Not that they need it — the fiery sisters are capable of defending themselves — but a little boost from a successful celebrity never hurts. On Wednesday afternoon, they received support from none other than Roseanne Barr.
"I don't think that we're comedians," Diamond said in response to Barr's tweet, "but what we say may be comical."
"You can have fun and do politics," Ingraham told them Wednesday night. "And you do that, and I love it."
Zuckerberg's hearings in Washington, D.C., may be over, but the ongoing questions that lawmakers raised will likely follow him and his team all the way back to Silicon Valley.
Update: On Thursday morning, April 12, Diamond and Silk provided their 649k Twitter followers and more than 1.5 million Facebook followers with an important update. They wanted fans to know that Facebook had — at long last — reached out to contact them. Ironically enough, the contact was made via Twitter.
Later on Thursday afternoon, host Laura Ingraham of "The Ingraham Angle" posted a link to a story on The Maven, tagging both Diamond and Silk and the author of the story, Erick Erickson. Diamond and Silk appeared twice this week on Ingraham’s show, of course, discussing the Facebook issue and other topics.
In The Maven’s coverage, Erickson said Facebook had made multiple attempts, in a variety of formats (emails, Facebook Messenger, phone) to contact the pair — and that Facebook's contact attempts were not returned. Something's still not adding up.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.