The Facebook-owned messaging application, WhatsApp, had suddenly shut down a channel used by Spain’s far-left political party, Podemos, without warning and a few days before Spain’s 2019 general elections.
WhatsApp’s move was announced by the party’s Communications Secretary, Junama del Olmo, who went to Twitter to first report it with no official response from WhatsApp or their owner company.
In the tweet, Podemos’ official said that their channel has been operating normally for 15 days, however, it was shut down during the last week preceding elections “when people decided on their votes”.
🚨INCREIBLE @WhatsApp acaba de cerrarnos la cuenta de PODEMOS mediante la que nos comunicábamos con todas las personas que nos han solicitado hacerlo a través de ese canal.— JUANMA DEL OLMO (@juanmalpr) April 22, 2019
Justo esta noche, la última semana de campaña, cuando la gente decide el voto.
In the tweet, del Olmo argued that his party used the same tools used by other parties, signaling out the PSOE, the Spanish Socialists Party.
The news went viral and more people shared it prompting the messaging company to release a brief statement on the issue.
WhatsApp’s move prompted anger and conspiracy theories of the messaging company led by the US administration is meddling in the elections.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, just shut down the massive channel used by Spain's independent leftist political party Podemos.— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) April 24, 2019
And it did this just days before the general election
This is actual, extreme election meddling by a foreign corporationhttps://t.co/PxzZ722Mk8
The WhatsApp move comes a few days after media reported Facebook took down several far-right networks, including the far-right Voc Party, for spreading politically sensitive content days before the elections as well.
Facebook shut down the Podemos account on WhatsApp literally days before they are to stand for an election.— yung calibri (@yung_calibri) April 24, 2019
The US intelligence apparatus is enacting a campaign of global censorship of the left, using their proxies, the US corporations which dominate the internet https://t.co/r9aCFXPTeQ
Yet, the move had its supporters who accused Podemos of spreading Communism.
Podemos party is not an independent leftist one. They are pure Communists, trained and funded directly by Chávez-Maduro (Venezuela), and by THE Iranian Goverment, THAT PAYS THEM FOR AN IRANIAN TV CHANNEL IN SPAIN "HISPANTV" https://t.co/nQbHLmXruP— Lydia_Soler (@Lydia_Soler_90) April 24, 2019
They were abusing WhatsApp.
Meanwhile, critics have questioned the social media giants’ willingness to meddle into politics. This comes amid a massive controversy surrounding social media platforms and their censorship of specific users and in some cases, with a bias usually toward the western left.
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