Access to various social media platforms has been blocked in Turkey recently following the arrest of a number of politicians.
It was reported in the early hours of Friday, November 4 that a number of social media sites had been blocked in the Middle Eastern country via throttling. Turkish monitoring platform Turkey Blocks provided a list of sites that had been shut down in the country via a live feed and has listed the situation as a “developing incident”.
Throttling is a method used to slow down a website to a point where it becomes virtually unusable. Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are among the social media platforms that Turkish users have been prevented from using.
It is believed that the incident is related to the arrest of politicians representing an opposing party, as well as MPs related to a government-branded “counter-terrorism inquiry”. Turkey is becoming more and more restrictive of online content and seeks to actively monitor and suppress coverage of political incidents in order to prevent civil unrest.
This is not the first time that Turkey has put a block on a social media network. Back in early 2014, it was reported that the nation had blocked Twitter for “protective measures” meaning that the country’s 10 million users had no access to their accounts. This ban was later lifted. Furthermore, the country had banned YouTube for two years after nation claimed that some of the content on the site was offensive to the founders of Turkey.
Turkey is not the only nation that has previously banned certain sites and apps. Earlier this year, neighbouring nation Iran put a block on popular augmented reality app, Pokémon Go. This was because Iranian officials stated that should an app wish to operate in the country, it must first obtain permission from the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance. It had not obtained that permission and Iranian authorities were uncomfortable with certain places in the country being part of the game’s map for security reasons.
Similarly, Iran also has history with blocking sites. In 2010, there was a temporary suspension on Facebook in the country. There was no apparent reason for this blocking and Facebook expressed its opinion on the matter, which came at a time when users were likely to use the site to gather information about an election taking place.
In terms of the current Turkish social media ban, it is unknown how long it will last. Last week, the internet was shut down in the southeast of Turkey, which affected more than six million people.