Fake news flooded the Internet during the Cuban protests | Media News
The government said they were spread by counter-revolutionaries, while the critics said it was the authorities themselves.
Fake news reports spread quickly after unprecedented Protests in Cuba. Among them: former President Raul Castro fled to Venezuela to form an alliance, protesters kidnapped a provincial party secretary, and Caracas is sending troops.
This Cuban government They say they were spread by counter-revolutionaries, while critics of the government say they may come from the authorities themselves. Neither person provided evidence for their claims, and Reuters was unable to determine the source of these stories.
The government stated that the stories spread on social media and messaging apps on Sunday as part of a broader attempt by counter-revolutionaries backed by the United States to destabilize the country.
“What slander, what lies,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said late Wednesday, exposing some fake news stories at a TV roundtable. “The way they use social media is toxic and alienating.”
“This is a manifestation of media terrorism,” he said.
Critics of the government say that the authorities may spread misinformation and spread chaos in the chaotic network waters, so no one believes that there will be news of unrest in the future.
Mexican communications expert Jose Raul Gallego wrote on Facebook: “It is usually the national security department that publishes such rumors after the fact… that they are a foreign-directed movement to manipulate Cubans, and therefore People no longer believe in the dissemination of information outside of government control.”
The government and some of its most famous critics urge Cubans to be careful not to share unverified information. Some of these stories were amplified by Cubans abroad cheering for the protests.
In recent years, the proliferation of manufactured or misleading videos and content on social media has become a common feature of social protests around the world, including Chile, Bolivia, the United States and France.
Thousands of people took to the streets of cities and towns around Cuba last Sunday to protest against the power outages, the surge in COVID-19, the widespread shortage of basic goods, and the one-party system.
These protests were Cuba’s largest protests in decades—public dissent was restricted—and gradually subsided this week with the deployment of security forces and the mobilization of government supporters.
Early reports of Sunday’s protests were quickly interrupted by the Internet and restrictions on social media and messaging platforms. By Friday, the service gradually returned to normal.
The introduction of the mobile Internet more than two years ago and the subsequent boom of Cuban social media and independent news media have been key factors behind the protests.
Analysts say these tools provide a platform for Cubans to share and amplify their frustrations, and enable people to spread the word quickly when they are on the street. Many Cubans learned about Sunday’s protests on messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook.
But the Cuban government, which has long monopolized the mass media, warned citizens not to believe in news and images shared on social media that might be manipulated.
Posts that have been shared thousands of times in recent days have been incorrectly labeled as Cuban protests. Some of these photos show large crowds during the May Day parade in Cuba in 2018 or the protests in Egypt in 2011.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez accused social media platforms of investigating fake news generally only when they suspected of harming “strong people.”
He said at a press conference on Tuesday: “It is well known which monopolies operate in the digital space… how do they operate, in which countries/regions they have headquarters… and how much politics is going on.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reinaldo Escobar, editor of the independent news website 14ymedio, said that regardless of who posted fake news and motives, many Cubans now have direct experience of participating in or observing genuine spontaneous demonstrations.
“This kind of large-scale behavior from the closet of fear will have consequences,” he said.