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Turkey redoubles crackdown on Twitter

23 March 2014

Turkey continues its crackdown on Social Media as currently it is no longer possible to get around the ban on Twitter by using Google’s public DNS servers, which have now also been blocked.

Prime Minister Erdogan has described his government’s action as a “preventative measure” since Twitter has been used to circulate accusations of governmental corruption. Twitter refused to remove the offending tweets despite the issue of several court orders to do so.

The Turkish government issued a statement saying that: “Twitter has been used as a means to carry out systematic character assassinations by circulating illegally acquired recordings, fake and fabricated records of wiretapping.”  

Those who want to access Twitter in Turkey now find themselves unable to use Google’s DNS service to get around the block. There were other similar services available like OpenDNS, however, Turkey is now blocking Twitter at the IP level, so changing DNS servers will no longer work. However, by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) it is still possible to access the banned website.

The ban on Twitter appears to have backfired since usage of VPN in Turkey has reached an all-time high and tweets on the subject have increased by 17%.

Now a ban on YouTube could be next since it has refused to remove videos accusing the government of corruption. If this should happen, it will not be for the first time. In May 2008, the government blocked access to YouTube for 30 months after users posted videos  that Turkey deemed insulting to the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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