The Associated Press reported on Friday that Twitter users in Venezuela found photo services unavailable on the social media platform on Thursday, one day after three protestors at a student-led anti-government rally were killed by men who fired guns into the crowd.  Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler told the AP via email that images were “currently blocked in Venezuela” and said the company had provided a way for users to work around the blockage by using the service on their cell phones.  By Friday morning, image services were back up. 

The AP wrote that CANTV, Venezuela’s government-run telecommunications company, which handles the bulk of Internet traffic there, denied “emphatically and categorically involvement in the failure”.  Meanwhile, William Castillo, president of the country’s telecommunications regulator Conatel told Telesur that the decision by Venezuelan authorities to take NTN24 – a Colombian-owned cable TV channel which aired footage of the opposition demonstrations in Caracas and other cities – came in response to members of the public who believed the channel was promoting violence against the government. 

Castillo added that Conatel had neither the “authority nor the need to block or spy on the communications of Venezuelans as the United States government does”.  In a tweet on Friday, he wrote that the government had blocked “various connections from which public websites were being attacked” by hackers.  The AP reports that hackers had defaced and taken offline several government websites, in part through a coordinated effort to flood them with traffic.