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Twitter blocks official Turkish accounts ahead of election

May 19, 2023 at 9:12 am

In this photo illustration, the image of Elon Musk is displayed on a computer screen and the logo of twitter on a mobile phone in Ankara, Turkiye. [Muhammed Selim Korkutata – Anadolu Agency]

Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales yesterday slammed Twitter over its recent decision to block certain Turkish content a day before the country’s  presidential election.

Wales told BBC that his organisation has been banned in Turkiye for almost three years after it refused to delete articles that criticised the government. He stressed that the tech sector must collaborate in defending free access to information.

Twitter’s owner Elon Musk recently said that the Turkish authorities had threatened to ban the platform, noting that a Turkish court ordered the ban of four accounts and deletion of 409 tweets, which Twitter banned for users in Turkiye but kept available outside of the country. Twitter said that it would continue to challenge the ban in courts.

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Wales criticised Twitter’s actions on the grounds that it would set a bad precedent for other companies to give in to similar demands in the future, according to BBC.

“I think people in the industry should really stand up and vigorously say no – actually an open internet, a free internet, the free sharing of ideas and knowledge is really crucially important,” Wales said.

In 2014, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan banned Twitter and vowed to “wipe out” the platform after corruption allegations about his administration were shared on it.

For the first time in its history, Turkiye is due to witness a second round of presidential elections, following an intense first round. Voters will decide on 28 May between the incumbent president and his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

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