Friday, April 4, 2014

The US's Bizarre Plan to Destabilize Cuba with a Twitter Clone

The US's Bizarre Plan to Destabilize Cuba with a Twitter Clone

Having once signaled a thawing of relations with Cuba, the Obama administration has since backpedaled.

And now comes a rather strange tale in the US's long march to take down the Castro regime: Sometime in late 2009 or early 2010, the US government secretly launched a Twitter-like service whose goal was to gain as many Cuban users as possible before pushing them to dissent.

This comes via an AP report that's a rather fascinating read. According to the report, the service, dubbed "ZunZuneo," which is slang for a hummingbird's call, picked up "tens of thousands" of subscribers during its more than two years of operation. As you might expect, user data was collected in the hopes that it might prove politically valuable.

The project was spearheaded by the US Agency for International Development, which normal is focused on delivering aid to impoverished peoples worldwide. But it's also easy to forget that the internet is just as much a part of the mission to win hearts and minds as anything else. If you'll remember that another international outreach bureau spent $630,000 to buy Facebook likes for its pro-America pages, ZunZuneo shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

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