SAN FRANCISCO — The island nation of Cuba is a closed society.
But the government’s crackdown on social media and the Internet has become increasingly sophisticated, and the results are a torrent of censors’ accounts.
The government is also using Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media to censor citizens and spread misinformation, according to people familiar with the situation.
The crackdown, which has come at a time when President Raul Castro is trying to rebuild a faltering economy, has also come as a surprise to many Cubans.
The Communist Party has banned the Internet, even for those with a passport or who are authorized to use it, and it has cracked down on news sites.
Last month, the country’s Information Minister, Raul Torres, announced that Facebook was censoring the posts of people who have not been officially approved.
A week earlier, a government official posted on Facebook a picture of a group of Cuban children playing on a beach in the island nation.
In the post, he said the children had been detained for their “unpatriotic behavior.”
In an interview with a Spanish television station, he accused the social media sites of trying to “destabilize the government.”
The message was widely shared and included the hashtag #CubaStops, a reference to a social media campaign launched by the United States last year to discourage Cuba from pursuing closer ties with the United Nations.
The message, which was posted by the minister’s office and the countrys Information Ministry, also contained a link to a website that the minister said had been taken down by the government.
It said that the social networks “should stop spreading false information about Cuba.”
It also criticized Cuba for “using social media as a tool to promote its domestic policies and support for the Cuban armed forces, its domestic security and its foreign policies.”
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all said they had blocked content, but the social networking sites say they do not filter content.
Torres has not returned a message seeking comment.
He has previously said that he blocked the posts because the content did not reflect Cuban public opinion, and that his government would “respond with more restrictive measures.”
Cuban President Raimundo Garcia Castro is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the Cuban Presidency.
More: Facebook and Instagram are the biggest social networks in the world, according, with more than 25 billion users.
They were founded by Cuban entrepreneurs who are known for their openness to foreign governments.
Cuban authorities say they have used the social platforms to reach more than a million Cubans, including many who are seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.
But people who are not officially authorized to have access to the platforms say they were targeted for being anti-Castro, and were denied access to many of the posts.
The latest batch of censoring happened in the last few days, and people who posted on the posts said they received repeated warnings.
Many people have received multiple warnings, some for weeks.
For example, one Twitter user posted a picture on March 23 of a woman standing on a highway with her legs crossed.
The caption read, “Cuba is not a place where you can go and get arrested.
If you go to the country, you’ll find a whole lot of criminals.”
The post was removed within minutes, the user said.
A Facebook user said he received a similar warning last month.
He posted on March 25 that the woman in the picture was a member of the Cuban government.
He said he was told to stop posting or face punishment.
Twitter user Luis Villanueva said he posted on April 1 that he had been arrested, that he was facing trial and that the government wanted him to go to jail.
A man with a Twitter handle that spelled out his real name was sent a warning that he should stop posting on the platform.
He received a warning a day later that he must stop posting.
The warnings were posted to his profile, along with a message that said he could be fined for posting.
Twitter suspended Villanues account for a week, and he posted a message on April 13 saying that he would stop posting, that the warning was being sent to him again and that he could not continue to post.
A Cuban citizen living in London who wished to remain anonymous said he began receiving warnings after he posted an image of himself wearing a wig and makeup on Instagram, saying, “The authorities are telling me to stop.”
The photo was taken last year in New York, the photo posted by a government employee showing him in a wig.
He wrote, “This was taken a few months ago in NYC, in a salon.”
He said that while he was not arrested, the police had visited his apartment.
“I have been threatened to get into a cell,” he said.
The government also has taken to the streets to