Turkey's Twitter Ban Backfires As Users Tweet Their Anger, But Erdogan Really Doesn't Like to Give Up
Well, this was somewhat predictable. Only hours after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan shut down Twitter, the social media world struck back in full force, with users both inside Turkey and out Tweeting their rage at the censorship. But this seems to have only incensed the Turkish PM even more, with Turkish authorities tightening their grip on Saturday and blocking proxy sites.
The backlash against Turkey's Twitter ban was fast and furious. Using Google's Domain Name System and text messaging services, Twitter users in Turkey angrily circumvented the block, tweeting criticism and mocking Erdogan — downloads of Hotspot Shield (a private network service) went up to 270,000 on Friday. Usually, downloads only average 7,000 per day. And according to the Irish Times, the number of Tweets rose by 140 percent after the block was enacted.
And that was just within the country. From outside, institutions from the UK government, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were among those who voiced criticism, and even celebrities like Russell Crowe and Elijah Wood joined the social media fray. On Saturday, the Swedish foreign minister Tweeted that the Turkish ban as "stupid," and that it "isn't working and also backfiring heavily."
Turkey, however, defended the blockade again on Saturday, and reiterated its intention to keep it. "Whether it's Twitter, Yahoo or Google, all social media companies have to obey the laws of the Turkish Republic and they will," said Lutfi Elvan, the communications minister. Already, they have widened their block to include Google's Domain Name System, although users continue to find ways around the widening nets.
The shutdown comes soon after anonymous audio recordings were posted to YouTube and Facebook tying Erdogan and his son to corruption, and only days before Erdogan's possible re-election on March 30. Clearly, the PM hasn't done himself any favors.