After a court decision on Monday, April 6 2015, Turkey has indefinitely blocked access to both Twitter and Youtube, two of the most popular social media and networking websites of the world. According to a report from Reuters, their sources have confirmed that complaints from individuals unknown have been made in the past and based on those, Turkey as a country has decided that Youtube and Twitter should not be accessible in the country.
Turkey has been adamant towards Twitter for quite some time now, as government officials were unhappy about people sharing inappropriate content on the social network with regards to local elections, as well as the hostage situation that took place a week ago, involving a prosecutor from Istanbul. It is the result of the hostage situation that Twitter and Youtube were blocked in the country, as government officials thought that footage and media released on the networks depicting gruesome scenes from the kidnapping was inappropriate for people’s eyes.
Twitter and Youtube were hosts to violent images depicting the prosecutor being threatened with firearms, held by a far-left group from Turkey. Since the official has since been murdered, the Turkish government sees the continued circulation of media involving the deceased as offensive and disrespectful. There has been no official statement released about the ban on Youtube and Twitter as of yet, although it doesn’t seem likely that the services will be banned for more than a week. This is not the first time Turkey blocked both Twitter and Youtube, as the government did the same thing before the March elections in the country. At the time, these social networks were hosted to alleged evidence of corruption of the Prime Minister and their inner circle.
When Twitter released their takedown statistics a few months ago, Turkey was an evident thorn when it came to takedown requests. Google has also put Turkey at the top of the list for most requests sent in by a country in a year. Most of the requests from Turkey to Google did not result in takedowns of search results, demonstrating that most of the requests concerned material that most people would have considered need-to-know and categorized in freedom of speech. While we can’t say for sure how long the block on Twitter and Youtube will be in effect, people are already beginning to sense the indignation of Turkish internet users.