April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is in the midst of yet another controversy after classifying a conservative social media duo’s videos as “unsafe to the community.”
Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson are the South Carolina sisters who video-blog under the names Diamond and Silk. Rising to prominence during the 2016 election as some of Donald Trump’s most high-profile black supporters, the pair maintains a steady stream of passionate and humorous videos commenting on the issues of the day.
Since September, the duo says it has been asking Facebook why their million-plus followers have stopped receiving notifications of new content, and why their content has seen steep declines in reach. The month before, they say, YouTube had demonetized 95% of their videos on the grounds they were “Not Suitable For All Advertisers.”
On Friday, Diamond and Silk published Facebook’s answer, which they say came only after “6 Months, 29 days, 5 hrs, 40 minutes and 43 seconds.”
“The Policy team has came to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community,” they quote a Facebook representative as saying. “This decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way.”
In response, they asked a series of follow-up questions, including when their page (which launched in 2014) became “unsafe,” what specific content was objectionable, and why Facebook still allows them to spend money to boost their reach. “Maybe FB should give us a refund,” they added.
“This is deliberate bias censorship and discrimination,” they concluded. “These tactics are unacceptable and we want answers!”
“We don't sell drugs, we're not laying out in the streets, we not no thugs, we don't belong to no gang. So how are we unsafe to the community?” Hardaway asked, according to the Hill. “It's offensive, it's appalling, it taints our brand, it taints us as women, and Facebook is supposed to be an entity where they want equality for women. So why are you censoring two women of color, two black women?”
Following media coverage over the weekend, a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News it was reviewing the situation.
“We have communicated directly with Diamond And Silk about this issue. 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,” the statement claimed. “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.”
However, Diamond and Silk responded on Tuesday that they have received nothing of the sort.
“Let us be clear; Facebook has NOT communicated directly with Diamond And Silk,” they wrote. “We haven't spoken to Mark Zuckerberg or any representative from Facebook.”
This dispute comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is slated to testify before Congress this week about the social media giant’s use of personal data collected from its users. Last week the company admitted that it improperly shared information on up to 87 million users with the data firm Cambridge Analytica. The week before, a Cambridge whistleblower testified before the British House of Commons that Facebook had the ability to listen to users through smartphones in which their app is installed.
Though lawmakers are expected to focus their questions on privacy, conservatives have called on them to question Zuckerberg on Facebook’s treatment of political content, as well. Analysis has found that political blogs have seen significant traffic declines in recent months while mainstream media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times have seen increased activity. In recent months, LifeSiteNews has covered several instances of Facebook censoring advertising of pro-life content.