Twitter ban lifted in Turkey

The social network Twitter was restricted on Wednesday in Turkey, two days after devastating earthquakes killed more than 11,500 people in southern Turkey and northern Syria, announced internet monitoring organisation Netblocks.

“Confirmed: Real-time network data show Twitter has been restricted in #Turkey; the filtering is applied on major internet providers and comes as the public come to rely on the service in the aftermath of a series of deadly earthquakes,” tweeted Netblocks on Wednesday. To avoid disinformation, Turkish government has a habit of imposing restrictions on social media during emergencies and major safety incidents.

On Wednesday Twitter users appealed to Elon Musk, the company’s CEO for help and he later replied: “Twitter has been informed by the Turkish government that access will be reenabled shortly.” Besides censoring the app, Turkish police has detained and arrested several people, for making “provocative posts.” The country will held general election on May 14 this year, and president Tayyip Erdogan said “this is a time for unity, solidarity. In a period like this, I cannot stomach people conducting negative campaigns for political interest.”

TikTok was also affected, its users had problems accessing the platform, and the company stated they “hope access is restored as soon as possible as platforms like TikTok remain a critical way to stay in touch during crises.”

After talks between Turkish authorities and Twitter officials, access was restored as of today morning. “Metrics confirm access to Twitter is being restored in #Turkey following hours of filtering. The restoration comes after authorities held a meeting with Twitter to “remind Twitter of its obligations” on content takedowns and disinformation,” tweeted Netblocks.

While visiting the affected region the Turkish president acknowledged “shortcomings” in the government’s handling of the disaster, saying “it’s not possible to be ready for a disaster like this.”