Turkey Blocked Twitter After Public Criticism of Quake Response

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Turkey Blocked Twitter After Public Criticism of Quake Response

Turkey has blocked Twitter on a number of its networks according to the internet-monitoring group NetBlocks.

This came after many users took to the popular social media platform to express their complaints about the government’s response to Monday’s twin earthquakes.

NetBlocks director, Alp Toker, said that the coordinated nature of this action suggests the government ordered it.

He also reported that the country’s telecommunication providers used their software to impose the block.

While Twitter was down for a lengthy time period, users were still able to access it using a VPN service. Many citizens had to change their virtual location to catch up with the latest news on the emergency situation.

VPN providers have been recording a significant increase in usage from Turkey ever since.

ProtonVPN has announced the usage of its app spiked by over 30,000%, and that the number continues to grow.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP, advised his friends to use VPN services for cooperation coordination. He also said he’s waiting for an explanation from the government.

Twitter was the primary contact platform for those affected

Twitter was the main source of communication between survivors, campaigners, and relatives of the victims, and accessing it was extremely important.

Many people on the internet have raised their concerns over how the ban would impact rescue attempts.

Some users tagged the company’s CEO Elon Musk, bringing to his attention that Turkey has blocked Twitter.

Musk later posted that “Twitter has been informed by the Turkish government that access will be reenabled shortly.”

While the public has expressed its outrage following the block, the government took its time to comment on the topic.

Vice President Fuat Oktay later said that users were unable to access Twitter due to “some technical problems.”

Turkey is known for restricting journalism and social media

Turkey has a strong history of imposing restrictions on social media platforms during emergency situations.

In October, the Parliament passed a new disinformation law that gave the government more control over domestic journalism and social media.

Citizens expressed their anger over it and responded by sparking a record VPN demand in the country

VPN use isn’t illegal in Turkey, but it has been severely restricted since 2016. That year, the country blocked a dozen international providers, claiming it was fighting terrorism.

Turkey also previously clashed with Meta, the Facebook parent company, over a demand that all major platforms install a local representative who answers to the government.

The country also wanted to store user data locally.