Black pro-Trump bloggers censored by Facebook to testify before Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The conservative video blogging duo Diamond and Silk are slated to come to Capitol Hill to discuss Facebook’s alleged censorship of their social media content.
Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, are South Carolina sisters who have been video blogging since 2014 and rose to prominence during the 2016 election as supporters of President Donald Trump. They allege that Facebook has dramatically suppressed their traffic since November, and on April 10 they revealed a reply in which Facebook branded them “unsafe to the community.”
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee announced that it will hold an April 26 hearing on whether major social media platforms engage in discriminatory practices to suppress political speech. Hardaway and Richardson are among those slated to testify.
Representatives from the digital civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation and the industry nonprofit News Media Alliance will also testify, and the committee has invited representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Also featured will be Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, who saw one of her own pro-life campaign ads censored by Twitter.
Multiple lawmakers grilled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the matter during his April 10-11 testimony before Congress. He responded that “in that specific case our team made an enforcement error,” and that “we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”
The duo say Facebook finally emailed them on April 13 to schedule a time to discuss the matter. On April 19, they told LifeZette that their numbers have noticeably improved, but the issue is not entirely resolved.
"We are noticing that [our followers] are still having complaints [about failure to receive notification of new content],” Hardaway said. “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."
They say they would like the opportunity to propose a series of reforms to Zuckerberg, including revising their algorithms, making communications with the company more transparent, fixing user notifications, and tackling “troll farms,” which are organizations that exist solely to disrupt internet communities with inflammatory comments.
"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," Richardson said. "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."