Cuba Blames Twitter User And “Necrophiliac Counter-Revolutionaries” For Castro Death Rumours

Cuba has accused Twitter of both starting and helping to spread a rumour that began on Monday that former leader Fidel Castro had died, suggesting that the social network helped spread disinformation about Castro’s passing by allowing the #fidelcastro hashtag to become a trending topic.

The state-run Cubadebate website singled out one user for particularly harsh criticism, before suggesting that “necrophiliac counter-revolutionaries” worsened the situation by jumping on the story, and that Twitter has also previously censored topics that were in favour of the Cuban government.

Rumours about the deaths of celebrities and other major figures on Twitter are par for the course, and on Monday Twitter was buzzing with the ‘news’ of Castro’s death – the #fidelcastro hashtag quickly become the fourth most-popular trending topic on the network, which naturally added additional fuel to the story.

Castro’s age (he’s 85) and his top ten ranking at probably didn’t help.

However, the story was a hoax, and the Cuban press, looking for something and someone to blame, has aimed its guns firmly at Twitter, and singled out user @Naroh for special attention.

@Naroh, whose real name is David Fdez, was one of many users who retweeted and shared messages about Castro’s alleged demise, has been accused by Cubadebate of initiating the false report. Bizarrely, the website has suggested that the @Naroh account started the rumour on Monday from an Italian server, possibly after it was taken over by “a robot”.

Subsequently, Fdez has been besieged by the mainstream media, with the AP, Washington Post and CNN all contacting him directly on Twitter. For his part, he denies all allegations, saying that his posts were jokes and the story was already trending before he became involved.

While the Cuban government has not made any official comment about Castro’s health, Cubadebate has suggested that this is yet another example of “people inventing things in the virtual world that even the CIA could not accomplish in real life.”

Unsurprisingly, Twitter hasn’t commented officially on the matter. Spokesperson Jodi Olsen reminded observers that “as you know, we don’t mediate content.”