Cuba has slammed Twitter for helping to fuel a rumor that Fidel Castro was dead.
"It's a lie, a big lie!," Martin Castro, Fidel's half brother, told The Huffington Post. "He's resting now. But he's more or less fine."
An article on the state-run Cubadebate Web site accused Twitter of allowing an account holder with the sign-on "Naroh" to start the rumor on Monday from an Italian server, possibly after it was taken over by a "robot." It says the account was then quickly deactivated.
Cuba's state media said Twitter then helped spread the disinformation by allowing the hash tag "#fidelcastro" to become a trending topic. It briefly became the fourth most popular in the world as it drew many more people to the subject.
Cubadebate also dubbed anti-Castro expatriates who jumped on the story as "necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries."
India's Economic Times, meanwhile, reported that Castro was "laughing off" the latest rumors of his demise.
"Fidel Castro studied, analyzed and is laughing at the rumors on Twitter," Yohandry Bloquera, an official Cuban blogger, reportedly wrote. "The CIA tried to kill him more than 700 times and Twitter is going down that road."
Bloquera said he had interrupted his vacation to refute rumors of Castro's death, before predicting that "2012 will be a busy year in Cuba," without giving details.
Rumors of Castro's death have become more common since Castro underwent intestinal surgery in July 2006, according to the HuffPost, and since his brother Raul became acting head of state.
The HuffPost qualified its comments from Martin Castro by writing that he "holds no position in the Communist Party hierarchy. He has no special knowledge of his older brother's condition other than news his eldest brother, Ramon Castro, and other officials bring when they visit."