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Twitterer denies his account is source of Castro death rumor

From Catherine Shoichet, CNN
updated 9:26 AM EST, Thu January 5, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cuban state media says it tracked the rumor of Castro's death to a Twitter account
  • The Twitter user says he is not to blame
  • A search shows the rumor was already out there

(CNN) -- Cuban state media this week expressed outrage at a rumor of the death of Fidel Castro, and even pinpointed the Twitter account they say sparked the fuss. But the account's owner, a Spaniard named David Fernandez, says Cuba has it wrong.

An expose published on the state-run Cuba Debate website claimed to track down the origin of the rumor that the leader of the Cuban revolution had died. It's investigation led to Fernandez's Twitter page, where he goes by the handle @naroh.

The report said that a spam robot used Fernandez's account, possibly without his knowledge, to spread rumors about Castro.

"They should double-check their 'information' before blaming someone for no reason," Fernandez told CNN late Wednesday. "I wrote about that when the topic was already trending and my tweets were mostly jokes. I didn't start anything."

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A look at Fernandez's Twitter activity shows that the offending tweet was in fact not his, but a retweet, or copy, of someone else's tweet.

An online search showed that a tweet claiming that a publication called Cuba Press had confirmed Castro's death began to circulate on January 2, but the originator of that message was impossible to pinpoint.

The hashtag #FidelCastro, used to identify the topic of a tweet, on that day became one of the most popular tags, known as a Trending Topic.

According to Cuba Debate, the "frustration" of Cuba's enemies to assassinate Castro "has led some to try (to kill him) in the virtual world with the hope of accomplishing what more than half a century of criminal attempts have failed to do."

For his part, Fernandez took his new found notoriety with some humor.

"Cuba has blamed me for killing Fidel Castro on Twitter. Can I consider myself a twitstar?"

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