Diamond & Silk (Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson) appeared on Fox News hours after multiple reports called into question the duo's accusations of censorship by Facebook. As reported by Judd Legum at ThinkProgress, social media analytics platform CrowdTangle data shows that engagement on their Facebook page has remained constant over the past year. Legum also noted that their decline in video views was less severe than similar pages, including liberal pages. Right-wing commentator Erick Erickson also reported (and The Daily Beast later confirmed) that Facebook's outreach to the duo had been about the platform's new monetization guidelines in 2017. Erickson published emails that Facebook sent to them on April 9th. On the 10th, Diamond and Silk claimed to Sean Hannity on the radio that they had never heard from Facebook at all. After Republicans repeatedly accused Facebook of censorship when questioning Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook continued to reach out, even tweeting at them.
The only recent development debunking the censorship claim that made it to Neil Cavuto's interview with the duo was that Facebook tweeted at them. Cavuto himself seemed completely lost, even suggesting that Facebook took down their page (it was always up, as ThinkProgress showed). Rather than getting into any details or facts, instead Cavuto steered the conversation into a discussion of whether Zuckerberg and Facebook are biased against conservatives. The data says otherwise.
From the April 12 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): Has the company (Facebook) reached out to you?
DIAMOND: They reached out via Twitter, we saw it this morning when we woke up.
CAVUTO: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, they reached out via Twitter?
DIAMOND: Via Twitter.
CAVUTO: Oh, ok.
DIAMOND: They told us they had trying to get in contact with us and that’s where they reached out to us. We’ve been in interviews all day but we will be reaching back out to them.
CAVUTO: You don’t have to divulge the conversation or the exchange, but what did they say was their mistake? They want you back on or what?
DIAMOND: Well you know Mark Zuckerberg said the other day that it was their error.
DIAMOND: OK but what we’re seeing is that our people, people still cannot like or follow our page, they’re still having problems. What we want is them to go back to before the president became elected because we had none of these problems. After he became elected president of the United States we started having all of these problems. People were able to like and follow our page before the president became the president of the United States. And before Zuckerberg started putting these algorithms in place. Take that stuff off of our page so that our people can like and follow our page and if they set our page to default it stays to our page and not flip back to something else.
SILK: That’s right and we also understand that Mark Zuckerberg, he obtained the American dream. And Diamond and Silk, that’s all we're trying to do is obtain the American dream. But for someone to pull the rug from underneath our feet, from underneath our platform and put their feet on our neck and suppress our voices, suppress our platform, that is wrong. And not only our platform but even other conservative’s platforms.
CAVUTO: How was it explained? I’m sorry how was it explained to you when you were first taken down? I mean, how did they explain that to you?
DIAMOND: Let me explain this to you. We were never taken down. Our page was still up. But algorithms were put in place where people and our fans and followers that come and like our page was not receiving notifications.
CAVUTO: Oh, I see.
DIAMOND: It was not coming up in their news feed. And they was like, “Where have you all been?” You all are not coming up in our newsfeed. We’ve been back and forth on Facebook, Facebook has admitted to their error, they’re going to have to correct it. And what’s going to tell the story is when we do our chit chat live show on Monday at 8 PM eastern standard time on Facebook live. That's what's going to tell the tale if all of those algorithms are off of our page.
CAVUTO: Do you think Mark Zuckerberg does have a bias against conservative sites, conservative participants?
DIAMOND: I believe him and his platform does, yes we do. A lot of conservatives, listen we’ve been getting complaints, we’ve been getting server complaints, other platforms where they’re being censored, where their people can’t see their content, and that’s not fair.
SILK: And to even put a label against our brand as unsafe to the community. That is wrong because that’s now worldwide and it’s hitting back here at home where we’re supposed to be unsafe to the community and it’s been deemed as terrorists, like Diamond and Silk are terrorists.
DIAMOND: And we’re not terrorists. Listen, we love our country, we love our president, you can say we two black chicks down with politics. But don’t censor our page, don’t censor anybody page and get these algorithms off conservative pages.
CAVUTO: Roseanne has come out in support of what you guys are trying to do, what did you think of that?
DIAMOND: Oh, I love Roseanne.
SILK: We love Roseanne.
DIAMOND: We want to be her next door neighbor on the show.
SILK: That’s right.
CAVUTO: I think one of you have said, I hope I’m not misquoting that you hold this to be a right that should be available to those on the left and the right, that nothing should be distinguished based on your point of view.
DIAMOND: Absolutely, today it’s us, tomorrow it could be you. No one person should have this entity that the whole world uses and think they can control their freedom of speech. Tell you what you’re going to see, what you’re not going to see. It don't work that way. These are brand pages. We built this one person at a time. Other conservatives have built their pages. Let our followers and our fans see our content.
SILK: And we don’t care if you’re black, white, conservative or liberal. Everybody, if you’re an American citizen, everybody, I don’t care who you are, you should be across the even playing field, it should be an even playing field for all of us. Not just for some.
DIAMOND: That’s right.
CAVUTO: Do you think in a weird way, the way algorithmically, whatever you want to call it, you were kind of cast aside has actually helped you?” It brought more attention to you and what you are saying. Your notoriety, you’re already pretty famous but it’s grown a lot.
DIAMOND: Yes, so we’re going to do something with that. We’re going to stop this censorship on these platforms and in these colleges. It’s got to stop. People have the right, that’s their First Amendment right.
SILK: That’s right.
DIAMOND: To be able to speak, let them speak, and you may not like it and in that case you have to agree to disagree. But you cannot silence us. You cannot silence conservatives and you cannot silence Trump supporters.
SILK: If this is a platform for all ideas, algorithms should not be designed to stop some ideas.
DIAMOND: That’s right.
CAVUTO: That is very well put. Ladies, thank you very much for taking the time, let me know if you hear from Zuckerberg.
DIAMOND: We will.