Venezuela’s government has been trying to silence protests over shortages of basic goods, and that crackdown appears to be extending into the digital realm as well. A Twitter spokesperson claims that pictures on its social network are “currently blocked” for at least some users. The country hasn’t confirmed anything, but President Nicolas Maduro has already taken a TV station off the air after it showed unflattering protest footage.
Twitter Inc. (TWTR) said the Venezuelan government blocked users’ online images as opposition groups marched through Caracas for a third day, demonstrating against record shortages and the world’s fastest inflation. Nu Wexler, a Twitter spokesman, confirmed in an e-mail that the government was behind the disruption. President Nicolas Maduro banned protests Feb. 12 and has asked his supporters to counter with a “march against fascism” tomorrow, in a week of social unrest that has left at least three Venezuelans dead. In the absence of information from the government or local television outlets, Venezuelans have turned to foreign reporters and social media for news. Twitter users had been posting their photos of demonstrations that started in provincial towns earlier this month, providing an alternative to state-controlled media. It’s unclear if photos are blocked for users of all Internet providers in Venezuela, Wexler said.