Julian Assange may have been cut off from the internet when his access was "intentionally severed by a state party."
But the talk online — surrounding the WikiLeaks founder's exposé on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — is not about to die down.
Netizens and media observers on Twitter and Facebook have trended with support for Assange. Others have expressed shock over Clinton's supposed backdoor dealings to court Wall Street and her alleged tactics to "galvanize" demographics such as the Latino voters.
Ecuador Shut Down Assange's Internet Access
On Monday, WikiLeaks said Assange had been denied internet access by the government of Ecuador, putting allegations to rest that the United States or United Kingdom may have been behind a supposed cyber attack to silence him.
"We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange's internet access Saturday, 5 p.m. GMT, shortly after publication of [Hillary] Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches," WikiLeaks announced on Twitter. The anti-secrecy group maintained it has "contingency plans" in place and a fresh batch of emails exposing Clinton.
Assange has been in asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador in London since 2012, after the leftist government of Rafael Correa guaranteed Assange's right to free speech. But the recent internet shutdown by the embassy may soon test the limit of Ecuador's support for the transparency activist.
It is unclear at this point what exactly prompted the embassy to cut off Assange's access, although reports point to a reminder that Correa openly supports Clinton in the presidential race.
"For the good of the United States and the world ... I would like Hillary to win," said Correa before media outfit Russia Today.
But a representative of Ecuador, who spoke with Press Association, says the country remains committed to protecting Assange and upholding the political asylum.
#FreeJulian Trends On Twitter And Facebook
Despite the shutdown, netizens have rallied around the new information dumped by WikiLeaks concerning Clinton.
The move has sparked interest in the content of about 40,000 to 50,000 emails stolen from the personal accounts of former White House adviser John Podesta, who is now in charge of the Clinton campaign.
Among the issues exposed in the dump were Clinton's supposed willingness to have a "covert" role in Syria operations; her seemingly close ties to investment bank Goldman Sachs; and her campaign team's alleged strategies for defending her "flip-flopping" on gay marriage. The Clinton camp has neither confirmed nor denied the veracity of the leaks.
On Facebook, more than a million netizens were talking about "Julian Assange" and his "silencing."
Among Twitter's top trends on Monday morning was the hashtag #FreeJulian — virtually becoming the battlecry of Assange supporters, anti-Clinton forces and those calling for government transparency.
— Anonymous (@LatestAnonNews) October 17, 2016
When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say#FreeJulian — WikileaksTRUTH (@babushka_tasi) October 17, 2016
— Ant (@antidote925) October 17, 2016
The notion that silencing @wikileaks is ok b/c they had an agenda is sickening,dangerous & against everything America stands for#FreeJulian — Amir (@amiraminiMD) October 17, 2016
— Alana Mastrangelo (@ARmastrangelo) October 17, 2016