This sad Facebook page may be all that remains of the ‘Cuban Twitter’ created by the U.S. to stir unrest


A screenshot of ZunZuneo's Facebook page

If you haven't read the great story on the "Cuban Twitter" reportedly created by the U.S. government by Alberto Arce, Desmond Butler and Jack Gillum of the Associated Press, you really should.

It's a wild tale that reveals how U.S. Agency for International Development created "ZunZuneo," an SMS network based on Twitter (the name is slang for the noise a Cuban hummingbird makes) in an attempt to undermine the Cuban government. The project began in 2009, first sending out relatively innocuous messages with an aim to slowly move into politics. However, as it progressed, the project was never able to make enough money to sustain itself, and it was abandoned in 2012 when USAID's money ran out.

What remains of ZunZuneo now? Its Web site, ZunZuneo, has been taken down, though the Verge was able to get a screenshot of it. Whoever was wiping the web of ZunZuneo appeared to forget one thing however: A Facebook page dedicated to the service is still active at the time of writing.

While it isn't clear if the page was definitely set up by those working on ZunZuneo itself, it definitely appears to be. Set up in 2010, the page first posts information devoted to ZunZuneo itself, before moving onto celebrity news about Shakira and Adele, and eventually posting links to stories about Internet censorship and its own problems.

Perhaps most notable about the page are the comments. While fewer than 300 people "like" the page, a number of people have commented on it to ask where ZunZuneo went. “Where can you pick up messages from ZunZuneo?” one woman asks in November 2012. “Why aren’t I receiving them anymore?”

Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

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