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Notes on the Preventive Measure against Twitter


The decision for the preventive measure against Twitter in Turkey, has been taken in response to its defiance to comply with hundreds of court rulings since last January.

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• Prior to this preventive measure, Telecommunications Authority was notified of Turkish courts’ rulings on violations of personal rights and right to privacy, and Twitter was urged to remove the related content. However, Twitter has not abided by these rulings, and thereby disregarded the lawful requests of Turkish citizens. 
 
• In order to prevent irremediable future grievances, access to Twitter has been blocked. The Telecommunications Authority acts in accordance with the Law No. 5651 governing internet broadcasts and the fight against related crimes as well as other relevant legislation.

• The Republic of Turkey is obliged to protect the rights of its citizens. Twitter and other social networking sites have to comply with Turkish legislation and abide by the rulings of Turkish courts. All media may broadcast freely so long as they comply with the law and observe the principles of personal rights and right to privacy.

• Twitter has been used as a means to carry out systematic character assassinations by circulating illegally acquired recordings, fake and fabricated records of wiretapping.

• The main ground for this measure is the continuous disregard of the court rulings and the continuing violation of personal rights.

• Similar measures have been taken on the same grounds in various countries to prevent illegal sharing of content violating personal rights and threatening national security through social media.

• Twitter and other social networking sites must respect the principle that “whatever is crime in real life is also a crime in cybernet”.

• It is difficult to comprehend Twitters’ indifference, and its biased and prejudiced stance; we believe that this attitude is damaging to the brand image of the company in question and creates an unfair and inaccurate impression of our country.

• Turkish Governments led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have always valued the internet and its accompanying opportunities. Being a pluralist civil platform, internet has been considered valuable in terms of the advancement of democracy. Promoting the novelties in the internet world, Turkish Government has been proud of providing even remote villages with internet access.

• Turkish Government is against the free circulation of the illegally acquired recordings over twitter and other social networking sites which aim at hampering national security and reputation of the citizens, not the internet.

Worldwide Practices on Banning Access to Twitter
• According to the Transparency Report (for the period, 1 July 2013 - 31 December 2013) including account information requests to Twitter in 2013, there is a significant increase in the requests by the governments and copyright holders. These requests are examined under three categories: information requests by the governments, removal requests by the governments and copyright notices under Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In the second half of 2013, these requests increased by 22% as compared to the previous period.

• The US ranks the first with 59% of the total information requests made by the governments. Japan, follows the US with 15% and then France and the UK with 4%. Turkey’s only accounts for less than 10% of the total of 1.410 requests examined.

• Removal requests by the Governments and other authorities increased by five folds as compared with the previous period. 305 out of a total of 365 requests were made by France during the second half of 2013. Russia follows France with 14 requests. Turkey sent only 2 requests in total.

• The Report also marks the increasing number of requests on copyrights following the widespread use of Twitter. Removal decisions, rising by 16% as compared to the previous period, affected 12.343 accounts in total. Consequently, 26.506 tweets were deleted and 5.847 media contents were removed.

• According to the report by Twitter, most of the requests originate from the US. A great number of countries have requests for less than 10 users, while almost 80% of all requests are related with the US, with a total of 679 requests on 948 accounts. It is interesting that 75% of 679 requests were addressed.

• Germany: In October 2013, Twitter blocked Neo- Nazi accounts upon the request of the German Government. Thus, Twitter applied “country-withheld content” rule for the first time. This rule means that the relevant content was blocked throughout Germany – or the country requesting a restriction on the content- although access was allowed in the other countries.

• France: On 19 October 2012, Friday, Twitter removed anti- Semitic and racist tweets written and circulating in France. #UnBonJuif (#AGoodJew) tagged tweets included photos about Holocaust. Twitter removed these contents following the statement of the Union des Etudiants Juifs de France (UEJF) that they would file a case.

• India: The Indian Government banned group messaging within the country following the acts of violence that started in Assam in July 2012 between the Bodo tribe and the Muslims. The Government also warned the social networking sites such as Facebook (with more than 50 million Indian users) and Twitter to take necessary actions on provocative messages. Google, Facebook and Twitter declared that they were in collaboration with the Indian Government.

• England: British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that access to Twitter might be blocked in order to prevent sharing provocative contents during the riots that broke out in 2011, but no measure was taken as the riots calmed down.