A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, March 21, 2014

Banning Twitter BOOSTS Twitter Use in Turkey?

Now, I'm fully aware that Hurriyet Daily News are hardly friendly with Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan and his AKP Party, but they are reporting that after yesterday's ban on Twitter,that
"Twitter usage SOARS in Turkey, let alone succumbing to 'the ban'."
The number of active Twitter users, as well as tweeted messages, has soared since the Turkish government blocked access to the popular social media platform, new statistics have shown.
The access to Twitter was blocked in the first hour of March 21. According to figures published by social media rating agency Somera, over 6 million Turks tweeted from March 20, 23:00, to March 21, 12:00. Only 4.5 million tweets were sent the previous day in the same time slot when there was no blocking. The difference correspondents to a 33 percent rise.

The number of tweeting Turkish users have also risen by 17 percent, from 1.49 million to 1.75 million comparing the same periods. The Turkish activity on Twitter was 16 percent lower than the previous day one hour before midnight. Just after the access was blocked, it quickly rose, hitting 95 percent more than the previous day and remained in record highs even at 03:00 am as seen in the graph:
In last night's post I already talked about one workaround. There are others. The Prime Minister promise that "Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic" seems to have a somewhat hollow echo by now. For one thing the Turkish President, Erdoğan's former colleague and AKP ally, Abdullah Gül, denounced it. How? On Twitter of course:
I don't read Turkish but I understand he's saying that blocking Twitter posts against which there was a court order would have been sufficient and that blocking Twitter altogether violated both privacy and freedom of expression.

So now, Erdoğan's own party is unhappy. Now there are reports that Twitter is negotiating a restoration. Did we see "the power of the Turkish Republic" here, or the power of social media?

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