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12 Sep, 2019 22:06

Impeccable timing: Twitter purges dozens of Cuban reporters just before president’s energy speech

Impeccable timing: Twitter purges dozens of Cuban reporters just before president’s energy speech

Dozens of Cuban journalists with millions of followers combined were on the receiving end of a blanket Twitter ban, without explanation, just moments before the Cuban president delivered a much-awaited address on fuel shortages.

The purge, which began on Wednesday evening and continued into Thursday afternoon, targeted scores of Cuban accounts, focusing primarily on reporters as well as some political organizations. A correspondent for RT in Cuba was also affected.

“Problems accessing many Cuban accounts on Twitter. It seems a concerted operation of false allegations of abusive use and violation of platform policies,” observed Rosa Miriam Elizalde from the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), adding that the “selectivity of affected users” showed “surprising political bias.”

The purge of accounts was launched just before Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel appeared on television for highly anticipated remarks on the island nation’s dwindling fuel supplies, as well as measures to combat the crippling US sanctions that have been imposed on the country’s economy for decades.

Some of the accounts appear to have been reinstated since. Twitter has yet to provide an explanation for the sudden wave of suspensions. A number of Cuban reporters and journalistic organizations condemned the move and called for an immediate reversal of the bans.

“We demand that the blocked accounts ... be restored immediately,” the UPEC said in a statement, slamming the social media platform for attempting to “muzzle” an “informative event in our country.”

Also on rt.com ‘Sowing discord’ again? Twitter wades into Hong Kong protests with hunt for ‘Chinese bots’

Last month, Twitter announced that it had suspended nearly 1,000 accounts it linked to a “state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong,” accusing them of “sowing political discord” on the platform, though the social media giant offered no evidence to support the assertion. There was no similar statement regarding the bans of Cuban accounts.

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