Americas

Cuba threatens to sue Facebook, alleging it aided dissidents

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Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla speaks during a news conference in Havana, Cuba, July 13, 2021. Ismael Francisco/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

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HAVANA, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Cuba threatened to sue Facebook on Wednesday, alleging the social media platform had aided the dissident movement in the communist-run country by allowing groups to simulate a large presence on the island ahead of planned protests on Nov. 15.

Dissidents in September requested permission to conduct a "Civic March for Change" in mid-November following widespread protests on the island in July.

Cuban authorities denied that request last month, alleging protesters were seeking to overthrow the government.

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Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told a group of foreign diplomats in Havana on Wednesday that dissidents organized in groups on Facebook had violated the social media platform's own policies, "altering logarithms, altering the geolocation mechanism to simulate the massive presence in Cuba of people in accounts that are known to reside outside our country and fundamentally in Florida and in the U.S. territory."

Rodriguez said these practices violated both U.S. and international law.

"As has already happened, Facebook could perfectly be, with strict adherence to the laws, sued for these practices against Cuba."

Facebook, which recently changed its company name to Meta, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Cuban dissident leader Yunior Garcia, who has organized support for the Nov. 15 protest on a Facebook group called Archilpielago, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Nelson Acosta, additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York, Editing by Nick Zieminski and Nick Macfie

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