Pro-Trump vloggers and Fox News regulars Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, falsely claimed on social media that they had not heard from Facebook about why their page was deemed “unsafe for the community” since April 5.
Emails obtained by conservative writer Erick Erickson’s blog “The Resurgent” show that the company attempted to contact the duo on Monday and also tried calling them twice on Tuesday.
The vloggers took to Twitter on Wednesday to repeat the false claim that they had still not heard from Facebook: “Just so you know; We have not communicated nor have we talk to Mark Zuckerberg or any @facebook Representative. Our last communication with FB was on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 3:40pm when they emailed us and said: “We Were Unsafe to the Community”
Just so you know; We have not communicated nor have we talk to Mark Zuckerberg or any @facebook Representative. Our last communication with FB was on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 3:40pm when they emailed us and said:
“We Were Unsafe to the Community” pic.twitter.com/hA2GRtqHAS
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) April 12, 2018
Facebook responded to the tweet a few hours later, writing: “Hi @DiamondandSilk 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.”
Hi @DiamondandSilk 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. pic.twitter.com/ZZ5c87iw5O
— Facebook (@facebook) April 12, 2018
Facebook added: “@DiamondandSilk Additionally, we tried to reach you by phone on Tuesday and left a voicemail. Would love to talk when you’re available.”
@DiamondandSilk Additionally, we tried to reach you by phone on Tuesday and left a voicemail. Would love to talk when you’re available.
— Facebook (@facebook) April 12, 2018
Diamond and Silk appeared on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle on Wednesday night after they were mentioned multiple times on Capitol Hill this week during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s testimony to lawmakers.
“We have not been in communication with Facebook,” Hardaway falsely claimed. “We have not been contacted. We haven’t spoken to anyone over the phone. So that was a lie.”
In the email obtained by Erickson, which was sent to private addresses associated with the duo’s Facebook accounts, Facebook explained that they had introduced new guidelines for accounts eligible to earn money through Facebook in September of last year.
Facebook public policy manager Neil Potts acknowledged in the email that the company did not adequately communicate the new guidelines to Diamond and Silk and said that restrictions on their page would be lifted to allow them to apply to monetize their content.
“We did not properly communicate these policies to you,” the email reads. “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.”
The email also apologized for the company’s claim that the Diamond and Silk Facebook page was “unsafe for the community,” saying that the notification was “inaccurate and not reflective of the way we communicate with our community and the people who run Pages on our platform.”
The Hill adds:
Potts sent a follow-up email to Diamond and Silk’s public accounts on that same day, notifying them of the initial email.
When Diamond and Silk did not reply to the emails, Facebook told Erickson that it tried unsuccessfully to contact the women by phone on April 10.
The emails appear to contradict the duo’s claim on the “Mornings on the Mall” radio show on Wednesday that Facebook had not tried to contact them.
The two women have claimed that starting in September of last year they observed that their 1.2 million Facebook followers were not getting the usual alerts whenever they posted new content – a date aligning with Facebook’s new monetization guidelines.
UPDATE: ThinkProgress has looked into the underlying claim that Diamond and Silk’s Facebook page is being censored because of their political views:
It’s not even remotely true.
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.
Things get even more stark 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.
Digging deeper into the data, if you isolate only the videos posted to Diamond and Silk’s page — excluding links and other kinds of status updates — their reach did go down. But the decline was still less pronounced than similar liberal-leaning pages.
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.