Wednesday, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg returned to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress about the impact the platform had on the 2016 election cycle and how the company uses the vast amount of user data it collects.
While Democratic congressional members seemed to focus mostly on who controls the data and how it’s shared with other entities, Republicans in the House seemed particularly interested in discussing Facebook’s so-called bias against conservative views.
Throughout the hearings, Republican congressional members repeatedly mentioned Diamond and Silk, two YouTube vloggers who are also ardent Trump supporters. Apparently, the pair had their content flagged by Facebook for being “unsafe.” Missouri Rep. Billy Long even went so far as to produce a gigantic poster of the duo, and ask Zuckerberg, “What is unsafe about two Black women supporting President Donald J. Trump?”
While Zuckerberg said he couldn’t comment on why the duo’s content had been flagged, the pair have become a favorite among Trump and his supporters because they regularly take aim at the president’s critics (by attacking things like the Black Lives Matter movement, the Obamas, and immigration reform), while endorsing his policies — even those that cause harm to communities of color.
Diamond and Silk have been locked in a beef with Facebook since last year, when they accused the social media platform of purposely suppressing their content. In a statement to Fox News after the hearing, however, the social media network said they are attempting to work things out.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
With questions still swirling about how foreign entities use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to spread fake news and sow division, and how these networks handle user data, it’s curious Congressional Republicans would spend so much time questioning Zuckerberg about two vloggers.
But in the current hyper-partisan environment, it’s clear many members of Congress are more concerned with scoring political points than getting to the bottom of real issues.