Twitter restricts access in Turkey ahead of presidental election

Twitter restricts access in Turkey ahead of presidental election

Twitter users are blasting the social media platform for “censoring” content in Turkey the day before its presidential election.

Twitter announced Friday it would limit access in the country without specifying the type of content or accounts that would be affected.

“In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today,” Twitter’s Global Government Affairs unit said, adding that the action falls in line with its policy.

Users slammed the decision, claiming it actively works against free speech, which CEO Elon Musk has staunchly claimed to defend since taking over the platform in October.

Columnist Matthew Yglesias accused Musk of silencing critics on behalf of reigning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a controversial leader with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The Turkish government asked Twitter to censor its opponents right before an election and @elonmusk complied — should generate some interesting Twitter Files reporting,” Yglesias said in a Saturday tweet.

Musk — who confirmed Friday he’s tapped former NBCUniversal advertising chief Linda Yaccarino to head his site — quickly responded, claiming the accusation was a far reach.

In this file photo taken on November 04, 2022 the Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco, California.
Twitter said that restricting the country’s content falls in line with its company policy.
AFP via Getty Images

“Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias? The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?” Musk wrote.

In another reply, the Twitter boss said he would share “what the government in Turkey sent us” but had yet to do so after several hours.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also admonished Musk, noting that Twitter was being vague about the conditions of Turkey’s content restrictions.

“The day before a critical election in Turkey, Twitter appears to be acquiescing to the demands of the country’s autocratic ruler, Erdoğan, and is censoring speech on the platform,” Schiff said.

The content restriction will not be the first time Twitter was censored in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters during his election campaign rally.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has restricted Twitter access in the country in the past.

Erdoğan blocked the platform for 12 hours in February — after a powerful earthquake decimated portions of the country and claimed over 45,000 lives — because users were allegedly sharing “slanderous” posts about the government’s slow and uncoordinated rescue efforts.

Erdoğan also blocked Twitter in 2014 in the days before his election race after the platform was filled with alleged evidence of his culpability in government corruption.

On Sunday, voters will head to the polls to either re-elect Erdoğan or oust him in favor of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkey’s main opposition candidate and the head of the center-left Republican People’s Party.

With Post Wires

Source link