Socialist Dictatorship in Venezuela Blocks Twitter to Fight Protests

This is why government regulation of the internet is so dangerous.


Considering how much Chavez/Maduro intimidated or co-opted the media, the next step is to fight student flash protests. The plan didn't work too well in Egypt and trying to selectively block Twitter images seems like a doomed strategy.


Venezuela, like Turkey, is trying to target the internet because its protest energies are coming from students and younger people who are major social media users. (photos from Babalu Blog)


Twitter said Friday that Venezuela had blocked images on its service following an anti-government protest that turned bloody, and it offered a workaround for users who want to get tweets via text message on their cellphones.

Hacktivists, meanwhile, defaced and knocked various government websites offline, organizing and choreographing online denial-of-service attacks that flood sites with traffic, making them temporarily unreachable.

Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler said Friday via email in response to an Associated Press query that "Twitter images are currently blocked in Venezuela." He included the text of a tweet the company sent explaining the workaround, but did not respond to follow-up questions.

Users told the AP that it appeared the blockage had ended by Friday morning. They said it was most intense Thursday, the day after two students were killed by gunfire that appeared to come from government supporters.

Venezuela's main telecommunications company, CANTV, is government-run and handles the overwhelming majority of Internet traffic. Video and still images that circulated via Twitter after the killings purported to show police and pro-government activists shooting at protesters. The images' authenticity could not be confirmed.

Media coverage of the protests was limited inside Venezuela, where the socialist government dominates the airwaves. Even international media faced harassment as police smashed and confiscated cameras.

Venezuela's government also suspended broadcasting inside the country on Wednesday night of the regional news channel NTN24, claiming it was trying to incite citizens to overthrow the government.


This is why FCC overreach and government regulation of the internet can be so dangerous. It takes one foot in the door and then another and then there's the emergency power to prevent violence by censoring "extremist" content.