Facebook, Diamond & Silk, And What Mark Zuckerberg's Testimony Had To Do With The Pro-Trump Duo
Diamond & Silk, two black conservative women who made a name for themselves supporting Donald Trump during the 2016 election, have accused Facebook of acting like a "dictator" by restricting the reach of their videos. Facebook told Diamond & Silk that their pro-Trump videos were "unsafe to the community" in April, the two sisters said, months after placing limits on the spread of their posts.
“The Policy team has came to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community,” Facebook's email to Diamond & Silk — real names Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — allegedly read. “This decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way.”
However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday during his congressional testimony that this was an "enforcement error," and the company said in a statement that it has since reached out to the sisters.
“We have communicated directly with Diamond And Silk about this issue," Facebook said in a statement. "The message they received last week was inaccurate and not reflective of the way we communicate with our community and the people who run Pages on our platform. We have provided them with more information about our policies and the tools that are applicable to their Page and look forward to the opportunity to speak with them.”
The sisters addressed Facebook's decision to list them as "unsafe," though not Zuckerberg's subsequent explanation, in an interview with Fox News Wednesday.
"We are not unsafe," Diamond said. "We are not animals. We are two black chicks that's down with politics, that's patriotic, that loves our country, that loves our country, and that loves his agenda. And then I would tell [Zuckerberg] what measures he needs to put in place so that everybody can be protected."
Shortly after being told that the videos had been labeled "unsafe," Diamond called on the government to intervene in social media platforms to ensure that they aren't "violating someone's free speech."
“I don’t believe in big government, but I do believe that maybe our government should look at the social media platforms,” Diamond told Breitbart News on Sunday. "I believe that maybe the government should start looking at these here entities and maybe I don’t think regulate them, but if they see you violating someone’s free speech now you are in trouble.” However, as Diamond conceded in the same interview, Facebook is a private company and, as such, is not bound by the First Amendment.
Diamond & Silk's outspoken support for Trump is notable, as only three percent of black women voted for Trump in the 2016 election. Their Facebook page has 1.4 million followers, and they command a less sizable following on YouTube as well. The two often stumped for Trump at rallies during the election.
Although the Trump campaign said in April 2016 that the two had "never been paid by the campaign," FEC documents released in 2017 showed that after the election, the Trump campaign paid Diamond & Silk $1,274.94 by for "field consulting."
Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a data firm hired by Trump harvested personal data from some 87 million Facebook users ahead of the 2016 election. During Tuesday's testimony, Sen. Ted Cruz mentioned Facebook's action against Diamond & Silk's page, and presented it as evidence of "a pervasive pattern of political bias" against conservatives by Facebook.
When Zuckerberg continued his testimony Wednesday, House Republicans again brought up Diamond & Silk. Rep. Billy Long displayed a poster of the duo during his questioning, while Rep. Marsha Blackburn declared that "Diamond & Silk is not terrorism." Zuckerberg replied that, in limiting the activity of Diamond & Silk's page, the Facebook team "made an enforcement error and we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it."