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.

Filed Under: censorship, content moderation, recep tayyip erdogan, samira ghaderi, turkey
Companies: twitter


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Mar 2018 @ 1:48pm

    Not the US can complain about sovereignty or anything consider they want their laws to apply everywhere. These are just the first soft bites. The main dish has yet to show its jaws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:07pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:24pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Mar 2018 @ 2:32pm

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

        There is the other part though. If Twitter doesn't take it down, Turkey could ban Twitter from internet connectivity throughout Turkey.

        That's the catch-22 with authoritarian regimes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:32pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:36pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Mar 2018 @ 5:12pm

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

      What Twitter did was legal; that does not mean Twitter did something right.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 5:17pm

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

      Some pretty good responses to your ever ending 1st amendment argument. Is that why you stop responding so you can bring it up again in another article and pretend no one answered you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 6:59pm

      Re:

      You, "natural"?

      Now comes the part where we throw back our heads and laugh...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:30pm

    I did myspace for about a month, I did facebook for about a month, I did twitter for about a month. Fool me four times, shame on me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:39pm

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

    Would it disappear too? I'll check back later to find out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Mar 2018 @ 4:26am

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

      Marked funny, TD has had several individuals threaten(and even engage in) legal action over the years in attempts to pull certain content, and so far the only response has been to publicly name and shame the person who tried and tell them 'no'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 11:53am

        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?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 27 Mar 2018 @ 3:51pm

          '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?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 26 Mar 2018 @ 2:41pm

    If I ran Twitter, in this case, I'd give the sultan the proverbial finger

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 26 Mar 2018 @ 3:13pm

    more to the point than this

    The US government itself has bowed to Turkish pressure in regard to events that took place on US soil.
    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2018/03/23/unreal-charges-against-erdogan-thugs-drop ped-n2463761

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 3:58pm

    Every time Erdogan is mentioned is a good time reassert:
    Fuck you, Erdogan, you ego-maniacal, thin skinned, tantrum throwing, fascist, fart-sniffing twat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 27 Mar 2018 @ 8:08am

      Re:

      Good thing you didn't call him "Gollum". Sources say Gollum was deeply offended by such comparison. According to such sources it said: "It hurts ussss, we are not that thin skinned."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 4:02pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2018 @ 5:56pm

    "...aren't even doing Balkinization correctly."

    Balkinization ---> Balkanization

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 8:23am

    Maader cood,kanker pola

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 10:13am

    There should be a draw a mustache on Tayyip Erdogan day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 3:33pm

    "Twitter nukes" is bad news for the U.S. government: an American-based website doing what North Korea, China, and Russia haven't done to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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