Pro-Trump vloggers Diamond & Silk found themselves the center of two high-profile congressional hearings this week as lawmakers obsessed over claims the duo were “censored” by Facebook.
At least five members of Congress asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the claim that the YouTube duo were told by his company that their content was deemed “unsafe for the community.” The lawmakers, all Republicans, held up the claim as evidence of Facebook’s liberal political bias.
In response, Zuckerberg stressed that the matter amounted to an internal mishap. “Our team made an enforcement error and we have already gotten in touch with [Diamond & Silk] to reverse it,” he told the panels.
And in a statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday, the company confirmed: “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. 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.”
On Wednesday, however, the flamboyant pair—Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson—claimed to the right-wing website The Daily Caller that, despite Facebook’s statements, no one from the social-networking site had ever reached out to them. Later that night, the duo appeared on the Fox News primetime show, The Ingraham Angle, and repeated the claim. “No one has been in communication with Diamond & Silk,” said Diamond & Silk.
Internal Facebook communications prove otherwise.
Conservative pundit Erick Erickson on Thursday published several emails from Facebook officials confirming the company reached out to Diamond & Silk as early as Monday.
The Daily Beast can confirm the veracity of those emails.
In one contrite email to the duo, Facebook policy manager Neil Potts wrote: “First off, we want to apologize for having mishandled communications with you over the last six months. I can only imagine how frustrating this process has been for you.”
Potts made clear that any hiccups the duo might’ve experienced with their page was simply the result of complicated policy changes—not political bias.
Those changes, Potts wrote, stemmed back to September 2017 when Facebook instituted new policies for how official pages can monetize their content. “We did not properly communicate these policies to you. As a result, you could not have known that the video content on your Page was not in line with our eligibility standards and did not qualify for monetization features,” he added. “We are eliminating the restrictions associated with your Page so that you can apply to monetize content.”
Potts offered his team as a “resource” to assist Diamond & Silk with any further “content-related issues.”
Later that same day, Potts forwarded that note to another of the pro-Trump duo’s email accounts. “I previously sent the following email to the accounts you had on file, and I am now resending it to your Diamond and Silk email account as well,” he wrote. “I look forward to catching up at your earliest convenience. Regards, Neil.”
The Daily Beast additionally confirmed with Facebook, as Erickson first reported, that the company made two attempts to reach Diamond & Silk by phone on Tuesday—the day before they went on TV claiming no one ever reached out.
Facebook also directly responded to the duo on Twitter early Thursday morning, telling them, “A member of our team emailed you Monday and we commented on your Facebook post yesterday. We’d love the chance to speak with you about this issue and answer any questions you may have.”
Diamond & Silk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.