Facebook was hit with yet another accusation of censorship this week when conservative social media stars Diamond and Silk testified before a Congressional hearing examining how Facebook filters content.
The two Internet personalities, Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, rose to prominence for being middle-aged African-American women, and sisters, who support Donald Trump. In their testimony before Congress, they claimed that Facebook and other social media sites have taken “aggressive actions” to suppress their voices using algorithms. They also accused Facebook of mislabeling their page as “very liberal,” denying them the opportunity to reach a conservative audience and attract advertisers. (Of course, anyone can change that setting at any time in ad preferences.)
While the sisters claimed that Facebook stepped on their free speech rights, several of the lawmakers struggled to make that connection.
“We know that these social media platforms remove content,” Republican representative Bob Goodlatte said. “As legitimate businesses, they must ensure that their services aren’t being abused for illegal purposes such as fraud and identity theft. There is, however, a big difference between removing illegal activity and suppressing speech.”
Facebook was invited to participate in this hearing, but it declined. However, despite the company’s absence, it’s clear this issue is far from resolved.