The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday entitled “Filtering Practices of Social Media Platforms,” which was mainly meant to probe allegations that big tech companies censor conservatives on their platforms.
Among the guests invited to testify were Diamond and Silk, pro-Trump social media pundits who have accused Facebook of labeling their page as “unsafe to the community.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in his testimony before Congress earlier this month that Facebook had made an enforcement error regarding the pair, but Republican lawmakers have taken the incident as proof that Silicon Valley is out to get conservatives. (Subsequent reporting has raised questions about whether the drop in viewership was connected to the alleged suppression of their videos.)
Thursday’s hearing was highly volatile compared to most other congressional hearings, with the duo repeatedly sparring with Democratic members of Congress, who themselves consistently complained that the hearing was pointless.
Here are the most entertaining and explosive moments from the hearing.
Diamond and Silk Argue with Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson About Making Money
Johnson grilled Diamond and Silk on whether they had made a lot of money on Facebook and suggested that the hearing was simply giving the duo a platform to make even more money by raising their profiles.
Diamond, whose real name is Lynnette Hardaway, responded that they hadn’t because Facebook censored them. Silk, whose real name is Rochelle Richardson, also accused YouTube of demonetizing their videos.
The exchange devolved into a shouting match, and Diamond at one point yelled, “If illegal aliens can come over here and build businesses, why can’t we?”
Diamond and Silk Argue with Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee about the Facts of the Case
Lee began her questioning by asking whether the pundits have ever been paid by the Trump campaign, which Diamond denied five times under oath. However, FEC records show that the campaign paid them $1,274.94 for “field consulting.”
Lee also took issue with Diamond and Silk’s claims concerning whether and when Facebook contacted them about the “unsafe” label, which led to another heated exchange over the exact timeline of events.
Diamond and Silk Say That New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries Bought into Fake News
Jeffries continued to press the duo on whether they had been paid by the Trump campaign, bringing up the FEC records, to which Silk responded, “We’re familiar with that particular lie. We could see that you do look at fake news.”
She then claimed that the Trump campaign had actually reimbursed them for plane tickets they bought to attend a Women for Trump event in Ohio in 2016 and then made a mistake in their FEC filings by labeling them as field consultants.
Jeffries also asked about the money they make on social media, to which Diamond exclaimed, “I don’t see you walking up to a white person saying, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t monetizing that.’ So why are you as an African American making it seem like there’s something wrong with us monetizing our platform?”
California Congressman Ted Lieu Says The Hearing is “Stupid and Ridiculous”
Near the end of the hearing, Lieu used most of his time to rant about the uselessness of the proceedings, arguing that claims of conservative censorship on social media are merely anecdotal and that private companies do not have a constitutional obligation to host content that they don’t want to.