- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Conservatives have complained for years about being censored by Facebook, but the Silicon Valley giant may have gone too far by blocking Diamond and Silk.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that his company had moved to correct what he described as an “enforcement error” after the popular social media duo said he shut down traffic to their page, which has 1.4 million followers.

“In that specific case, our team made an enforcement error, and we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it,” Mr. Zuckerberg said at a House committee hearing.

Republicans rushed to the defense of sisters Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson after they said that Facebook had labeled their videos, which mix conservative commentary and humor, “unsafe to the community.”

“Why is Facebook censoring conservative bloggers such as Diamond and Silk? Facebook called them unsafe to the community. That is ludicrous. They hold conservative views. That isn’t unsafe,” said Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, took Mr. Zuckerberg to task after he said that the platform targets “types of content like terrorism.”

“Let me tell you something right now,” Ms. Blackburn said. “Diamond and Silk is not terrorism.”

Comedian Roseanne Barr weighed in Wednesday by tweeting “Diamond and Silk are comedians—stop censoring them!”

The flap erupted Tuesday when Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, quizzed Mr. Zuckerberg on why Facebook had taken action against Diamond and Silk and other conservatives, including Catholic organizations, Fox commentator Todd Starnes, and a Chick-fil-A “Appreciation Day” page.

Despite Mr. Zuckerberg’s assurances, Diamond and Silk, who made the rounds Wednesday on conservative media outlets, said their followers were still having trouble accessing their content and called on Facebook to “remove these algorithms.”

“It’s not fair that if you go on a liberal page with only 100,000 fans and followers, they get millions of views if they post a video, but then that don’t happen to us anymore,” Ms. Hardaway said on InfoWars.

They also argued that the “unsafe” designation had tarnished their brand and “demonized” them.

“We’re not killers, we’re not out there in streets trying to wreak havoc on anybody,” Ms. Richardson said. “We’re just two human beings, black ladies, who love our president, who love our democracy, who love this country. And we want to see it move forward.”

During the hearing, Rep. Billy Long, Louisiana Republican, held up an enlarged photo of the women and asked Mr. Zuckerberg if he knew who they were.

Mr. Zuckerberg responded “I believe, is that Diamond and Silk?”

“Apparently they’ve been deemed unsafe,” Mr. Long said. “Diamond and Silk have a question for you, and that question is, ‘What is unsafe about two black women supporting President Donald J. Trump?’”

Mr. Zuckerberg said there was “nothing is unsafe about that,” adding that, “the specifics of this situation, I’m not as up to speed on.”

Mr. Long suggested that the Facebook mogul direct his 20,000 employees charged with checking content to “see how many conservative websites have been pulled down and how many liberal websites.”

He warned Mr. Zuckerberg that Congress has a habit of swinging between inaction and overreaction, “and we’re getting ready to overreact.”

“You’re the guy to fix this. We’re not. You need to save your ship,” Mr. Long said.

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