- Netflix thriller ‘Earthquake Bird’ can’t solve its own mystery Monday 4:45 PM
- Goop is selling an expensive ‘restraining arts’ BDSM kit Monday 4:17 PM
- Body positivity actress Lili Reinhart calls out Photoshopping app Monday 3:42 PM
- ‘Rick and Morty’ zeroes in on connections and leans into familiar territory Monday 3:30 PM
- People are sharing photos of how much they’ve changed in a decade Monday 2:30 PM
- A few of our favorite things on Newegg are on sale for Black Friday Monday 2:15 PM
- Disney adds ‘Bob’s Burgers’ movie back to release schedule after accidentally yanking it Monday 2:02 PM
- Ocasio-Cortez launches petition demanding Stephen Miller’s resignation Monday 1:24 PM
- Prince Andrew’s defense against child sex crimes stokes conspiracy theory flames Monday 1:20 PM
- More people may be looking to cancel Disney+ than Netflix Monday 1:09 PM
- Monday Night Football: How to stream Chiefs vs. Chargers live Monday 1:00 PM
- After days of deadly protests, Iran implements ‘largest internet shutdown ever’ Monday 12:55 PM
- ‘Disney Plus and thrust’ is apparently the new Netflix and Chill Monday 12:32 PM
- Woman fired, sued after coworker shared their sexts Monday 12:22 PM
- Group running GoFundMe for border wall breaks ground without permits Monday 11:47 AM
Turkey cracks down on Twitter and Facebook after deadly car bombing
As terrorism becomes routine in Turkey, so does the government’s response.
After Wednesday’s deadly car bomb attack in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, the Turkish government responded quickly—by issuing issued a gag order on TV broadcasts and reportedly throttling access to social media.
The attack, which targeted service busses carrying military personnel, claimed 28 lives while 61 people are being treated at various hospitals, Turkish media has reported.
Turkey has recently been a hotbed of terrorism, with at least seven deadly attacks on Turkish soil since 2015. In response, the country’s government has developed a pattern of media bans and censorship of social media, according to media culture academics.
This time, the temporary gag order, which covers “live broadcasts showing the place of blast, the moment and immediate aftermath of the blast and dead bodies,” was issued minutes after the explosion and caused concerns for self-censorship in the mainstream media.
Turkish government is getting better at this: a gag order has been issued minutes after this morning’s explosion in Ankara
— Gönül Tol (@gonultol) February 17, 2016
The throttling of social media also suggests a “rapid response system,” according to censorship researchers. Within an hour after the blast, TTNET, Turkey’s largest ISP, started slowing down access to Twitter.
The the second hour, other ISPs also joined in the organised attempt to throttle social media.
As the Daily Dot previously reported in July, Turkey has employed semi-legal means to extend temporary broadcast bans into blanket censorship of social media in the aftermath of political scandals and reports of government incompetence. While the legal action to ban online content may still take at least a full day, government orders can be put into force within hours.
The Turkish government’s current limit on social media reportedly has no public court ruling or decision available; hence the use of an administrative order. Yet, as the researchers of censorship trackers @TurkeyBlocks note throttling access to social media, instead of fully blocking it, evades ordinary censorship monitoring systems while causing less public outcry.
As of this writing, journalists in Turkey still report that access to Twitter is slowed down and they cannot post updates without employing a VPN service.
Illustration via Max Fleishman
Efe Kerem Sözeri is a Turkish freelance researcher who lives in the Netherlands. After studying political science in Istanbul, he moved to Amsterdam to study migrants' political behavior. Besides his academic work, he regularly writes on internet freedom and censorship in Turkey.