Blackburn Confronts Zuckerberg Over Speech Algorithms: 'Diamond and Silk Is Not Terrorism'

April 11, 2018

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the pro-Donald Trump online duo of "Diamond and Silk" is not "terrorism," while pressing him on whether the social media platform uses algorithms to censor speech.

Blackburn invoked the pair while questioning Zuckerberg during the second day of his Capitol Hill appearances in response to the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

"Do you subjectively manipulate your algorithms to prioritize or censor speech?" she asked.

"Congresswoman, we don't think about what we're doing as censoring speech," Zuckerberg said. "I think that there are types of content like terrorism that we all agree we do not want to have on our service, so we build systems that can identify those and can remove that content, and we're very proud of that work."

"Let me tell you something right now," Blackburn said. "Diamond and Silk is not terrorism."

Lynnette "Diamond" Hardaway and Rochelle "Silk" Richardson are sisters and fervent Trump fans with 1.4 million Facebook followers. They recently said they were deemed "unsafe" by Facebook for their humorous and provocative pro-Trump videos and began to have the reach of their posts limited by the social media behemoth.

Diamond and Silk told "Fox and Friends" that "we are not unsafe" and continued to accuse Facebook of bias against them.

Blackburn is running for the Republican nomination for the open U.S. Senate in Tennessee.