Twitter Nukes American Attorney's Tweet About Unflattering Depiction Of Turkish President

from the extraterritorial-stupidity dept

For no imaginable reason, Twitter continues to allow Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cleanse the internet of stuff he doesn’t like. This doesn’t begin and end with Twitter — other social media platforms have obliged the president as well — but Twitter is where it’s most quickly noticed that something has gone missing.

Kurdish-American activist and attorney Samira Ghaderi recently saw one of her tweets memory-holed in response to a Turkish court order. Now, it’s one thing when social media companies start geoblocking/vanishing posts originating in the country where the legal complaint was filed. It’s quite another when they allow Turkish law to take precedence over US law, which is what appears to have happened here.

If you can’t see/read the tweet, it says:

I received a court order from Turkey demanding the removal of the tweet below on the ground that it violates TURKISH LAW. The order was requested by the holy sultan @RT_Erdogan. Shame on @Twitter for entertaining Turkey’s attempt to silence the voice of the people.

The tweet that was censored on behalf of the offended president contained footage of a King’s Carnival parade float in which RT Erdogan was portrayed as a “bloodthirsty monster.” The video remains live… sort of. The video is still there but all video footage has been removed, replaced with an inky blackness apparently meant to give a bloodthirsty, monstrous president the respect he hasn’t earned.

Ghaderi has since reposted the video and that version remains live. So do screenshots pulled from the blacked-out video. But the original remains unviewable. And so a video shot in France and posted by an American is made unviewable via a court order sent from Turkey. Service providers aren’t even doing Balkinization correctly.

The fact is US companies have no business respecting Turkish laws that are wielded in this fashion. Doing so does nothing more than assist a despot in consolidating power, silencing critics, and stifling dissent. The world needs more of the latter and less of the former and social media platforms would better serve their worldwide user bases by refusing to be complicit in government censorship.

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Companies: twitter

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Comments on “Twitter Nukes American Attorney's Tweet About Unflattering Depiction Of Turkish President”

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25 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Asserted dozens of times "platforms" have "1st Amendment Right"

to arbitrarily control the speech of "natural" persons.

That fully applies here. For WHATEVER reason or whim, Twitter has decided. We "natural" persons are not even allowed to question the corporate royalty.

BUT SUDDENLY Techdirt has found an over-arching cause / societal good which invalidates the assertion.

Explain your rationale — so that I can use it.

Or does Techdirt just argue as convenient?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Asserted dozens of times "platforms" have "1st Amendment Right"

I will take a go. Twitter is bending to the will of another government to takedown content. Being a company, it has first amendment right to remove content but this is setting a bad precedent since it was being asked by another country’s government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Asserted dozens of times "platforms" have "1st Amendment Right"

Also, just so you know, 1st amendment is a two way street. Techdirt has just as much rights to hide your content since it isn’t a government agency. Techdirt can tell the US Government to go pound sand if the US Government wants an article removed. Techdirt has the right to tell you to go pound sand and ban you if it chooses. You have the right to create your own website and post your own information. You have the right to ban any comments and tell them to go pound sand. You also have the right to tell the government to pound sand if they ask you to remove your posts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Asserted dozens of times "platforms" have "1st Amendment Right"

I think you missed this part:

> Now, it’s one thing when social media companies start geoblocking/vanishing posts originating in the country where the legal complaint was filed. It’s quite another when they allow Turkish law to take precedence over US law, which is what appears to have happened here.

This isn’t in conflict with what TD has said previously. And he’s not saying that Twitter did anything illegal, on the contrary, he’s saying that what they did was legally ok BUT not necessarily a good idea because it sets a precedent to allow one despot to censor the internet globally. According to US law, this request should never have been granted because he can’t give orders to a US company.

If they had instead made it so the post didn’t appear in Turkey but did everywhere else in the world then it wouldn’t have been a problem and we likely wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If a Turkish Court Ordered This Post be Removed...

It’s one thing to be threatened of a lawsuit, it’s another to break a law. There’s no reason TechDirt should have to follow a Turkish court order (should one arise) but at the same time has Techdirt ever have to deal with a “this post is illegal, it must be removed” order from a federal government?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'Hmm... going to go with 'no' there.'

A law in another country, one that TD doesn’t operate in. I’ve little doubt that if a Turkish court told TD to take down a post because it violated their laws, TD’s response would be a rather entertaining article that could be summed up simply with: ‘Get bent.’

They haven’t backed down from threats and attempted legal pressure from courts that do have jurisdictional power over them, why would they cave because some tin-pot dictator threw a fit in another country over something they wrote?

Anonymous Coward says:

Erdogan - just another snowflake in Twitter's safe-space

It shouldn’t surprise us that the consequence of Twitter’s increasingly draconian practice of coddling irrational crybabies instead of respecting free speech is now serving the interests of repressive dictators. The fact that the actual complaint here cited Turkish law makes little difference, as Twitter routinely deletes probably thousands if not tens of thousands of posts every single day on a complaint of nothing more than what are in essence “hurt feelings.”

The social media giants have become a massive “safe space” to protect the sort of thin-skinned snowflakes who’ve never had to grow up and would rather live their lives in a protected bubble than face the real world.

Twitter has developed such a knee-jerk reaction of deleting posts and banning users in response to “hurt feelings” complaints that it would indeed seem completely out of character if Twitter started refusing to censor posts under any notion of free-speech rights.

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