Twitter access has reportedly been censored in Turkey, according to a claim by internet security company NetBlocks. The ban comes while Turkey is still recovering from a severe earthquake and as authorities there are detaining people for uploading “provocative posts” on social media. The limitation is being enforced at the level of the internet service provider, preventing users from accessing Twitter, according to user claims and the NetBlocks report.
The restriction’s timing, which coincides with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the earthquake-affected area, has prompted several Twitter users to ask CEO Elon Musk for help. Journalists and academics have also reacted to the ban, including Zeynep Tufekci of Columbia University, who tweeted about the broad throttling of Twitter in Turkey and the growing displeasure among certain users with the government’s response.
Concerns concerning the country’s right to information access and freedom of speech have been raised in light of this revelation. The country’s ability to respond to the tragedy and properly communicate with its citizens may be seriously hampered by the ban on Twitter, a widely used medium for news and information exchange. Additionally, the government’s efforts to regulate and restrict the dissemination of information are highlighted by the detention of people for their social media posts.
The government has a history of limiting access to websites like Twitter and YouTube, so this most recent development heightens already existing animosity between Turkey and social media services. The government needs accurate and easily accessible information to successfully respond to the earthquake and sustain its inhabitants, therefore this restriction comes at a critical time.
Twitter being blocked and people being detained for their social media posts raise severe concerns about the situation of information access and freedom in Turkey. Human rights organizations are requesting the rapid lifting of the restriction and the release of individuals jailed for their social media activities, and the international community is closely monitoring the situation.
It is crucial to think about the bigger ramifications for information access and freedom as the crisis develops, not just in Turkey but in other nations as well. The prohibition of social media platforms has far-reaching effects, and in any democratic society, the freedom to access information and to share news and viewpoints is crucial.