Venezuela President Accuses TikTok of Censoring His Account

During a live broadcast on June 30th, Venezuela’s socialist dictator, Nicolás Maduro, claimed that the Chinese social media company TikTok had banned his account.

Maduro said that there is a worldwide censorship effort underway and that social media sites throughout the world are working together to destabilize him and his government.

His socialist regime has engaged in mass censorship operations targeting every type of media in Venezuela and has systematically cracked down on freedom of speech throughout the past twenty years.

Maduro claimed that he and his wife, Cilia Flores, were live-streaming on TikTok and was shut down by the social media giant. He said censoring him would not stop him.  

Maduro’s TikTok account is active, and he has not shown any proof to back up his charges.

In an effort to rebrand himself, Maduro has heavily used TikTok, where he presents himself as a more humane and approachable figurehead, away from the traditional red tones and Soviet-inspired imagery associated with his Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

The Venezuelan dictator has been responsible for a long list of human rights crimes, and Venezuela has collapsed under his rule. The rebranding is an attempt to divert attention from these atrocities. Nearly 8 million Venezuelans have left the country in the last decade, making Maduro’s government the largest migratory catastrophe in the region.

In reaction to the purported censorship efforts, Maduro gave the order for his supporters to inundate social media with information favorable to him.

The Maduro regime is allegedly utilizing the so-called censorship campaign and the government’s reaction to implement a coordinated strategy to influence the material and algorithms of social networking platforms to favorably portray Maduro and promote regime propaganda, according to local anti-censorship non-governmental organizations.

Throughout its almost 25 years in power, the Maduro dictatorship has banned over 500 news outlets in Venezuela.  

Members of Maduro’s administration have also taken use of the country’s judicial system to confiscate media companies’ assets and instruct internet service providers to disable websites in an effort to silence the opposition.

In April, the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) said that Venezuela is experiencing an information blackout as a result of the government’s crackdown on local television and radio stations and the absence of independent printed media. Another finding by the IAPA was that independent publications under Maduro were compelled to go online, where they are now censored by the socialist government.