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“We have been censored,” Diamond and Silk say to Congress

  YouTube stars Diamond and Silk are represented. | POLITICO Screengrab

Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, have been battling with Facebook since last fall.


] A House Judiciary Committee hearing led by video bloggers pro-Trump Diamond and Silk quickly shifted to shouting, partisan disputes and questions about whether they lied under oath on Thursday, only hours after the president praised them as "warriors" "

Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, have been battling with Facebook since last fall, when the social media giant changed its terms of service for pages that make money without notifying it previously, Facebook He has offered on several occasions to make amends, but Diamond and Silk continue to say that the company is silencing them.

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Presiding nt Donald Trump, in a phone call to "Fox & Friends" shortly before the hearing, called the duo "amazing … beautiful, wonderful women".

Republican judges called the couple to Washington to air accusations of anti-conservative bias in content moderation practices of technology companies. But the sisters raised their eyebrows in the audience room when they denied receiving payments from Trump's presidential campaign, even though the FEC presentations showed that they had done so.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) asked Hardaway if Trump's campaign ever paid him. She said no.

"He was never paid with the Trump campaign," Lee replied with an expressionless tone and Hardaway said no again.

"It's not $ 5, it's not $ 100 …" said Jackson. "What about $ 1,274.94?" He said twice, to Hardaway's objections.

That figure is the amount that Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid to Diamond and Silk on November 22, 2016, according to FEC documents, which indicated that the payment was for "field consulting." . "

Richardson then called the number" false news "when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) further questioned her. She acknowledged, however, that the two did receive that amount as reimbursement for airline travel affiliated with an event of the Trump campaign.

Richardson also suggested that Jeffries, who is African American, was targeting them because they are black. "I do not see you approaching a white person and saying you should not monetize that," he said.

The exchanges were not the only unconventional moments in the unusually animated audience, Diamond and Silk frequently raised their voices and the legislators spoke to each other, unmoved by the blows of the president's deck.

"It's a pity that people who do not see us censored. But when the people of Black Lives Matter do it, everyone is on their feet! "Hardaway said at the hearing." Let me say this right here. If the shoe were on the other foot and Mark Zuckerberg was conservative, and we were liberal, all the fences and all the chains would have broken loose, you know it and I know it. "[19659008] Conservatives have harshly criticized the main platforms of Internet for what they consider an unfair treatment, citing incidents like that the conservatives lose their "verified" status on Twitter and the right videobloggers videos are demonetized, that is, blocked to generate advertising income Facebook and YouTube.

Diamond and Silk said they have seen many examples of conservatives censored from Facebook, such as Sarah Palin and Trump and that their friends have told them that they have had trouble finding their Facebook page. "It's not fair that Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg dictate to people and tell them what they can and can not see in their news, "said Hardaway." I thought this was a platform for all ideas. "

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia generated shouted replies, as Diamond and Silk repeatedly claimed that Facebook censors them and prevents them from making money with their pages. Johnson noted that his page had been very successful, and that appearing before the committee could make them earn even more money and get even more followers. Attendees and legislators fought to stay calm.

"You've made a lot of money with Facebook, have not you?" Johnson asked. He noted that Trump had introduced them at a rally and said they were incredibly successful.

"We did not criticize Facebook, what we did was expose it, that Facebook has been censoring conservative voices like us!" Said Hardaway.

"I am amazed that this committee would be downgraded to this level to position all of you to earn more money," Johnson said.

The testimony of the couple came after the representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the committee, started the hearing by closing Twitter, Facebook and the owner of YouTube, YouTube, for refusing to appear at the hearing, and said those companies "manage content on their platforms as they see fit."

Democrats, including representatives Jim Himes (Conn.) And Jerry Nadler (NY), the committee's senior member said the hearing was simply an excuse to tell a largely discredited narrative that Facebook highlighted Diamond and Silk for censorship.

"The Republicans do not have time for substantive supervision of the Trump administration or electoral security, privacy policy, or even a discussion on the wisdom of regulating social media platforms, but they have made time for Diamond and Silk." said Nadler. "They have prioritized this show over all the other conversations we could have today."

Representative Marsha Blackburn, who testified in the first panel of the audience, had her own encounters with social networks. The Tennessee Republican accused Twitter of censorship last October when the company briefly banned him from announcing his video launch of the Senate campaign on the platform by a language considered "inflammatory." In the video, Blackburn bragged about fighting Planned Parenthood and said "we stopped selling the baby's body parts." He said the line violated his advertising policies, but then reversed his decision.

During the hearing, Blackburn insisted that the concerns of Diamond and Silk were legitimate. She said that social media companies seem to point exclusively to conservative content for elimination.

"I had the ability to defend myself, Diamond and Silk had the ability to defend themselves, but what about the thousands of others who are expelled from our new public squares without good reason?" He said. here today to defend them, and today we are here to defend freedom of expression "

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