July 18, 2014
WASHINGTON — The inspector general for the nation’s international aid agency is probing a once-secret Obama administration program that created a social media network in Cuba, The Associated Press has learned.
The review centers on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Twitter-like service in Cuba, which was meant to circumvent Internet restrictions on the island and undermine the government. USAID has been criticized for using the program to conduct overt political messaging and for not fully informing Congress about the scope of its work there.
The inquiry follows an AP investigation in April that revealed the existence of the “Cuban Twitter,” known as ZunZuneo. That report found USAID contractors deployed the primitive text-messaging service by hiding sources of taxpayer money and not telling subscribers it was backed by the U.S. government or that it gathered private user data for political purposes...
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Ivet González, Inter Press Service