Many Americans are familiar with the YouTube duo Diamond and Silk. They were two of Donald Trump’s first supporters when he started his presidential campaign. With a popular YouTube channel, the two spoke at Trump rallies as far back as 2015 and during the Republican primaries.
It turns out these long-time Trump supporters have gotten 95% of all their videos de-monetized by YouTube. According to a report by The Washington Times, suspicions are mounting that this was in retaliation to their political stance. “@YouTube @TeamYouTube stopped over 95% percent of our videos from being monetized, stating: ‘It’s Not Suitable For All Advertisers,’” the two said in a series of tweets. “Wonder if @YouTube @TeamYouTube stopped the monetization of our videos because we are loyal supporters of the @POTUS. Hummmm. Sounds like Censorship to us, which is a Violation of our First Amendment. A Bias Method used to Silence our Conservative Voices.”
Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynnette Hardway and Rochelle Richardson, have become online sensations thanks to a no-nonsense style that earned them an impressive following during the presidential campaign. Sadly, they have become the most recent victims of YouTube’s efforts to silence what they call “extremism.”
Having built a YouTube channel of over 89,000 subscribers as well as a 361,000 Twitter following, they are now facing a significant loss of income.
They tweeted, “@YouTube, how was it OK to monetize our videos for the past two years and now those same videos are no longer eligible for monetization?”
According to YouTube’s official announcement on August 1st, “We’ll soon be applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If we find that these videos don’t violate our policies but contain controversial religious or supremacist content, they will be placed in a limited state,” as reported by The Washington Times.
This “limited state” means that these videos can’t be monetized, recommended, and will be missing key features.
Sadly, whenever “hate speech” is employed as a citing reason, it too often refers to conservative opinions. Numerous independent conservative journalists, researchers, and content producers are having their content de-monetized under these new policy changes.
In another instance, the famous Canadian professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Jordan Peterson, had his YouTube account locked for no apparent reason. The professor is known for being a vocal advocate for free speech. He later tweeted, “Google is refusing to reinstate my account. Violation of terms of service. No explanation given.”
Despite this, YouTube seems to have no qualms about keeping videos of radical imams, who call for terrorist actions, on their website, reported National Review. YouTube has no problem with genuine hate speech, but political free speech is, apparently, a real problem in their eyes.
In response, people across the country are expressing their support for the Diamond and Silk duo, including former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, as noted in a recent Facebook post.
As Silicon Valley continues to target conservative voices across the world, it’s more important than ever to show support for these figures fighting the ongoing battle for free speech.