According to local sources who have spoken to TechCrunch, the Turkish authorities seem to be throttling or completely blocking access to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook in response to the massive public protests that are ongoing across the country. Protestors have taken to Twitter to voice their anger at what’s seen to be the government’s dictatorial tendencies.
Over the weekend, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly condemned social media, calling it the “worst menace to society” and saying it is being used to spread lies–he even singled out Twitter, calling it the “worst menace.” Speaking in press conferences, Erdogan said there is ongoing intelligence work to root out what he says are foreign actors driving the protests.
Participants in the Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East have repeatedly turned to social media over the last several years to share information and photos as official channels refuse to report the protests. Various nations attempted to shut down social media and Internet access to thwart the uprisings. Erdogan has addressed this matter today stating “those who make news [and] call these events the Turkish Spring do not know Turkey.”
Some quick-footed analysis by NYU researchers of tweets related to Turkey’s situation show how pivotal Twitter may be. Even after midnight local time, the output of tweets remains the same as that during the daytime:
According to the Daily Dot, during massive protests in Istanbul on Saturday, CNN’s Turkish channel aired a three-hour documentary about penguins.