Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerburg spoke on Capitol Hill this week. The hearing was supposed to be about privacy concerns, Russia’s interference in elections and the use and abuse of data . However, Republicans made the conversation about alleged Facebook “censorship” with Trumpers Diamond and Silk as the examples.
Failed presidential candidate Ted Cruz began the foolishness by whining Facebook “blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page, with 1.2 million Facebook followers, after determining their content and brand were, quote, ‘unsafe to the community.’ To a great many Americans that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias.”
Yesterday, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) brought up them up again, saying, “Why is Facebook censoring conservative bloggers such as Diamond and Silk? That is ludicrous. They hold conservative views. That isn’t ‘unsafe.’” Zuckerburg answered, “In that specific case, our team made an enforcement error and we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.” See below:
To make matters even more foolish, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) held up a poster of Diamond and Silk, and read to Zuckerberg a question from the duo, “What is unsafe about two Black women supporting President Donald J. Trump?” Zuckerberg responded with “nothing is unsafe about that” and tried to explain more, but Long continued babbling.
Diamond and Silk were loving the attention. They appeared on Fox News, claiming they were being discriminated against because they are Black women.
However, this is all a big farce. One, Facebook did accidentally send Diamond and Silk a message saying that were blocked because they were “unsafe,” but that message was sent in error. How do we know? Their page was never deleted or temporarily taken down. When Shaun King or several other transgender activists were blocked, then were banned completely with no access or activity on their page. Unfortunately, when the question was posed to Mark Zuckerburg, he clearly was not ready for a left-turn about whining Internet hacks. He assumed the Republicans thought they knew what they were talking about, but they did not.
Why did Diamond and Silk think they were blocked? Either they were lying or they didn’t understand that Facebook’s algorithm changed, which affected everyone who uses Facebook and was a national conversation in the tech community. ThinkProgress reports:
“Data from Crowdtangle, a social media analytics platform owned by Facebook, show that total interactions on Diamond and Silk’s Facebook page were steady. The “total interactions” metric covers the total number of reactions, comments, and shares of content posted to the page. Diamond and Silk’s Facebook page actually received more total interactions in March 2018 (1,088,000), when they were supposedly being censored, than in March 2017 (1,060,000). Diamond and Silk received more interactions in January 2018 (1,328,000), when they began complaining about censorship, than in any month the previous year.”
When you compare Diamond and Silk’s total interactions to liberal-leaning pages that also frequently post video content. From March 2017 to March 2018, the total interactions on the Rachel Maddow Show page, went from 3.3 million to 1.6 million. Rachel Maddow hosts the most widely watched cable news show in America, and her page has 2.6 million fans to Diamond and Silk’s 1.2 million. Over the same time period, on the Facebook page of The Young Turks, perhaps the most popular independent provider of liberal videos online, total interactions declined from 2.3 million to 760,000. Meanwhile, interactions on Mic’s Facebook page, a left-leaning publisher with 3.8 million Facebook fans, plummeted from 8.9 million to 475,000. … Over the last year, views of original videos posted to Rachel Maddow’s Facebook page have declined from 6 million to 1.2 million. Diamond and Silk’s video views have declined from 4.1 million to 1.8 million. In other words, Diamond and Silk videos now get more video views on Facebook than Rachel Maddow, even though Maddow’s show has a much larger page and is the most popular cable news program in the country.”
ThinkProgress also reports, “Facebook’s spokesperson, however, categorically denied that any page, including Diamond and Silk, was targeted or penalized due to their political beliefs. Rather, any changes to their page performance over the last few months were not targeted at them, but the result of broader shifts across Facebook.”
When people heard their page was “censored” or “banned,” most believed their page was taken down or removed, though it never was. Also, Diamond and Silk claimed Facebook never reached out to them, but Facebook provided countless receipts to BuzzFeed.
These two are clearly loving the attention, and Republicans care less about Russians meddling in our elections and more about Diamond and Silk. Damn shame.