Cuba: A False Goal of Zuckerberg & CIA

By: Randy Alonso Falcón on February 25, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg’s boys were very active against Cuba in 2022. More than one Cuban page was censored by the Palo Alto team without plausible explanations. One of the most notorious closures, last October, was that of the space that the site Razones de Cuba had in that digital social network. The mission of this media since its inception has been to denounce the terrorist and subversive activity of the U.S. government against our country.

Other spaces and personal accounts were closed untimely, without prior notification or any possibility of complaint. Among them was the web page of Raúl Capote, editor-in-chief of the international editorial office of Granma, whom the CIA tried to recruit a few years ago for its anti-Cuban plans in the cultural sector.

On the same dates, on October 24, the social network Twitter marked some Cuban press media as “affiliated to the Cuban government”, an action that censors and stigmatizes the country’s public media. Days later it closed several accounts associated with our digital portal, such as those of the programs Con Filo, Cuadrando la Caja and Chapeando.

On November 27, while Cuba was holding its municipal elections, amid very complex conditions, Facebook prevented Cubadebate from publishing any post on its official page on that network. In notifications sent to editors, the social network informs: “Your account is now restricted. Your permission to perform this action has been temporarily blocked”.

Four months later, we confirmed that this was not a “short circuit” of Facebook’s algorithms, but a planned action to curtail the presence of media, professionals and supporters of the Revolution in the networks.

“Adversarial threats”.

A report just released by Meta, Facebook’s parent company, under the title “Adversarial Threats Report. Fourth Quarter 2022″ informs us of ” the removal of three coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) networks, in Serbia, Cuba and Bolivia, targeting people in their own countries through various services on the Internet, and linked to governments or political parties in power.”

According to the technical brief, “we eliminated a CIB operation in Cuba that targeted local audiences in that country and the Cuban diaspora abroad. Our investigation detected links to the Cuban government. The people behind it operated on several Internet services, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube and Picta, a Cuban social network, in an effort to create the perception of broad support for the Cuban government.”

According to Facebook’s so-called “prey dogs,” “Apparently, the network attempted two main initiatives to create the perception of the existence of broad support for the Cuban government on different Internet platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube and Picta, a Cuban social network.”

They also allege that “The individuals behind this operation posted Spanish-language videos, audio clips, articles, photos and memes that criticized members of the opposition and those who have questioned the government, including members of the Cuban diaspora in the United States and elsewhere.”

As a result of the self-interested cut of the revolutionary presence in the networks, Meta shut down in one fell swoop 363 Facebook accounts, 270 Pages, 229 Groups and 72 accounts on Instagram.

According to the report, at least 650,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 510,000 accounts joined one or more of these Groups and at least 8,000 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.

Cynical discourse

None other than the kings of manipulation and false discourse of freedom are now acting with utter cynicism as the judges of what is supposedly manipulative and should be deleted from the networks. The bandit acting as a policeman; the “democrat” acting as a censor.

Facebook’s collusion with Cambridge Analytics and other companies in the political manipulation of audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom in decisive circumstances such as the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the Brexit referendum for the British exit from the European Union are public, documented and notorious.

Investigations by U.S. journalists, also showed the collusion of Facebook and other digital social networks with the stimulation of social revolts in various parts of the world, including Cuba.

The events of July 11 and 12, 2021, and other subsequent events in Cuba were articulated and stimulated from social networks, especially Facebook, which is still the most used by Cuban users. As has been demonstrated, these platforms played a relevant role as tools in the organization of the events and in the speed with which they managed to spread hatred and create the climate that catalyzed the riots.

The complicity of Facebook and other Meta, Google and Twitter networks was not only expressed in the permissibility of the hate speech that, mainly from abroad, flooded the Cuban digital public space in those days and to date, but also in the laissez faire in the face of the wave of anti-government propaganda produced by users located outside Cuba.

In MintPress News, journalist Alan MacLeod, who infiltrated one of the private Facebook groups that organized the 2021 protests, documented the participation of foreign nationals in the supposedly local online communities that incited the protests. His investigation showed that U.S. citizens intervened “in Cuba’s internal affairs, at a level that is hardly conceivable in the United States.”

As Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez pointed out a few hours ago, Meta should explain “its own inauthentic and biased behavior in allowing denigrating, stigmatizing and generating hate campaigns from Florida against our country”, involving media created and financed by the U.S. government for its anti-Cuban campaigns, influencers injected with well-paid viciousness, others convinced or duped and an army of bots and trolls specially dedicated to feeding that divisive climate and encouraging anti-government actions.

And always the intelligence community

Since 2009, various investigations and press reports spoke of Facebook’s deep connections to the CIA and how the U.S. espionage arm had been a critical investor in the fostering and rapid growth of the tech company. It reportedly pumped $40 million into the fledgling venture.

But also the DHS, FBI and other branches of the U.S. intelligence community hold systematic meetings with Meta and the rest of the tech startups to tell them which users and which publications to remove, as The Intercept revealed a few months ago.

Such self-serving connections have tightened in recent years with the transfer from the intelligence community to the companies that run the digital social networks of dozens of officials who now hold executive positions.

Who are the authors of the report?

Mark Zuckerberg’s company, Meta, is riddled with former CIA and FBI agents. According to journalist Alan MacLeod, who has been investigating federal agency infiltration of social networks for several years, at least 23 senior Meta employees are former federal agents.

Nine of them worked for the CIA before joining Facebook, six worked at the FBI, and eight others currently provide services for the FBI or other federal agencies such as DHS, NSA or ATF. Several even hold senior management positions.

Notable among those employees is Aaron Berman, Facebook’s general manager of disinformation policy. Berman left his job as senior manager of analytics at the CIA in July 2019 to become senior manager of disinformation policy at Meta. Speaking about his job in a video posted on Facebook, he explains that he is now the manager of “the team that writes the rules for Facebook,” determining “what is acceptable and what is not.” Thus, he and his team effectively decide what content the platform’s 2.9 billion active users see and don’t see.

As McLeod notes, “In a political sense, trust, security and misinformation are the most sensitive parts of Meta’s operation. This is where decisions are made about what content is allowed, what will be promoted, and who or what will be suppressed. These decisions affect the news and information that billions of people around the world see every day. Therefore, those in charge of the algorithms have far more power and influence over the public sphere than even the editors of major media outlets.”

For more than 17 years before taking the job at Facebook, Aaron labored writing and overseeing intelligence analysis for the president and to enable “senior U.S. officials to make decisions on the most critical national security issues,” as he says on his LinkedIn profile, and on Twitter he introduces himself as a former CIA officer.

Meta’s policemen to supposedly make the networks transparent are also people from the intelligence and military community, well familiar with the disinformation and aggression campaigns against Cuba and other countries.

Nimmo, who is Meta’s Global Threat Intelligence Lead and author of the report, is a former senior specialist at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Laboratory (DFRLab), a think tank in the service of NATO and funded primarily by the U.S. government.

Nimmo studies online influence and disinformation operations, with a particular focus on multi-platform operations. He is Head of Research at Graphika and a non-resident senior fellow at DFRLab. Experienced news journalist and NATO press officer . . Between 2011 and 2014, he served as a NATO press officer and, the following year, moved to the Institute for Statecraft, a UK government-funded propaganda operation aimed at disseminating misleading information about enemies of the British state Speaks several languages, including Russian and Latvian.

Cybersecurity Policy Officer

The other scribe of the report was Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of Cybersecurity Policy since 2018, who previously served as director of cybersecurity at the National Security Council (NSC) and as a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies .

Pure Hypocrisy

In an attempt to clean up his dirty image, Meta now lashes out at others. He goes so far as to expose that from the “dangerous” network that was dismantled in Cuba, 100 dollars were spent for “advertising investment in Facebook and Instagram”. Phew, quite a fortune.

Meta’s services receive every year multimillionaire income from advertising; it is a fundamental part of their business.Only in one quarter of 2021 those incomes grew by 50%.  From Cuba, any advertising action is impossible because of the Blockade. The opponents of the Revolution, on the other hand, spend large sums of money to buy spaces to make their anti-Cuban campaigns visible.

While trying to articulate campaigns on the adversaries (Cuba, Bolivia, Russia, China and others) that “move strangely” in the networks to make political propaganda, Meta silences the huge and sophisticated operations that the U.S. government conducts through the digital space.

The largest covert force the world has ever known is the one created by the Pentagon over the past decade. Some 60,000 people now belong to this secret army, many of whom work under masked, low-key identities, all as part of a broad program called “signature reduction.” The force, more than ten times the size of the CIA’s clandestine elements, carries out missions at home and abroad, both in military uniforms and under civilian cover, in real life and online, sometimes hiding in private firms and consultancies, some of them household name companies.

The unprecedented shift has placed an increasing number of soldiers, civilians and contractors working under false identities, partly as a natural result of the growth of covert special forces, but also as an intentional response to the challenges of traveling and operating in an increasingly transparent environment world. Moreover, the explosion of Pentagon cyberwarfare has resulted in thousands of spies doing their daily work on various made-up personas, the same kind of nefarious operations the U.S. denounces when Russian and Chinese spies do the same.

Since 2011, The Guardian had warned about this huge cyber force, whose job was to “secretly manipulate social networking sites by using fake online personas to influence Internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.”

However, the ex-military and ex-CIA officers Meta employs don’t seem to have found any trace of their former colleagues’ work on the Facebook platform. How strange!

The attempt to silence Cuban pages, accounts and groups on Facebook is part of the systematic actions of Facebook, as well as Twitter and other social networks. Is it simply a biased ideological decision of these media emporiums or is it the growing articulation with the policies of the U.S. government behind it?

As The Intercept’s work revealed, “there is a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be limited or deleted through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email for use.” Will it have been in this case?

Either way, Cuba and Cuban revolutionaries will not give up the fight. There are precious things to defend and arguments and convictions to raise, amid the rising tides of lies, half-truths and hatreds that are spewed through social networks. That is why Cubadebate was born almost 20 years ago.

As the Cuban Foreign Minister tweeted “Despite attempts to censor our voice and make the truth invisible, Cubans will continue to defend our Revolution and its socialist system of social justice, also in the digital arena in the face of harassment and destabilizing operations.”

The state of digital in Cuba in 2023.

These are the essential headlines for digital adoption and usage in Cuba in early 2023:

  • There were 7.97 million internet users in Cuba in early 2023, when internet penetration was 71.1 percent .
  • Cuba was home to 6.69 million social network users in January 2023, equivalent to 59.7 percent of the total population.
  • A total of 6.67 million mobile cellular connections were active in Cuba in early 2023, equivalent to 59.5 percent of the total population.

(Taken from the report We are Social 2023)

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – US