Twitter and Facebook have suspended accounts affiliated with the Cuban government

Illustration by Global Voices

This story was written by an anonymous author in Cuba under the pseudonym Luis Rodriguez.

Just days before the vote on the U.S. embargo on Cuba at the United Nations, in the last week of October, U.S. social networking companies Facebook and Twitter suspended or flagged several accounts linked to the Cuban government. This is not the first time it has happened, since, in 2019 as well, Twitter suspended accounts related to the Cuban government. What is unprecedented for Cuba is that Twitter marked some accounts as “affiliated to the government.”

In turn, the Cuban government has for years censored internet access for Cuban opponents and those who protest against conditions in the country. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Cuba is “the most censored country in the entire hemisphere.”

In recent years, Cuba has been facing its greatest political and economic crisis — and this reality transcended from the physical to the virtual sphere. As the crisis deepened, the regime has increased its repressive practices to the communications sphere, not only through defamatory media lynchings against human rights activists, journalists and independent artists in state-run media, but also on the social media accounts of pro-government spokespersons.

La Joven Cuba, an independent media outlet that is often censored by the regime, criticized the social media platforms’ decision on the grounds that it does not benefit the necessary plurality that should reign in a context such as the Cuban context, one that is becoming increasingly polarized and conflictive. “While some [accounts] had discriminatory messages, bullying and character assassinations, not all of them posted this type of content,” they wrote on their website.

On October 25, Facebook suspended the account of Razones de Cuba (which, according to local media, is administered by the Cuban State Security) and other pro-government media outlets that are considered trolls such as the account “El guerrero cubano.”

Razones de Cuba, which had opened a copy of its Facebook page, has an article that reads that “the mission of this press outlet since its emergence has been to denounce the terrorist and subversive activity of the U.S. government in all spheres of the Antillean society,” whereas the Cuban regime declared that Facebook's decision “seeks to silence the voice of the Cuban people in the digital sphere.” Twitter blocked the account of the television program Con Filo hosted by Michel Torres Corona, which also remains suspended as of this writing.

Screenshot of the “Con Filo” Twitter account on November 3, 2022.

Twitter also labelled Cuban pro-government and state-run media outlets such as Cubadebate, Juventud Rebelde and Granma newspaper as “government-affiliated media.” This Twitter policy began in 2020 and tags government-affiliated media as well as government representatives from several countries, including China, France and Serbia. Twitter explains on its website that: “labels on state-affiliated accounts provide additional context about accounts that are controlled by certain official representatives of governments, state-affiliated media entities and individuals associated with those entities.”

Screenshot from Nov. 3 of Granma's Twitter account, now marked as “government-affiliated media, Cuba.”

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