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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  1. 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.

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