Ömer Fatih Sayan, the director of Turkey’s Information Technologies and Communication Council (BTK), which is an internet watchdog responsible for digital censorship in the country, has sent a warning to Twitter following an anti-government hashtag got over millions of tweets earlier this week, according to a report by nationalist Yeniçağ daily on Saturday.
“At present we are only giving a warning on the topic of disinformation,” Sayan said and added that “The Higher Board of Elections (YSK) is responsible for carrying out the election process. If the YSK decides (to ban Twitter) we will technically implement it.”
Twitter would do well to achieve the levels of transparency and information sharing with the government of Facebook, Sayan said and claimed that “Twitter is knowingly escaping (government oversight). They are allowing manipulation through bot accounts.”
Sayan said that six times as many tweets in recent hashtag campaigns had been sent from the United States as from Turkey, an incorrect statement apparently stemming from a tweet geolocation website’s inability to cope with the spacing in the anti-government hashtag “enough” (“T A M A M”).
“This highlights a serious degree of professional manipulation,” Sayan claimed and added that “Blocking (Twitter) is something we can technically do, but we do not want this to be in the foreground. This is something they do in order to get such a reaction.”
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had also sent a warning to users of social media in a statement made on Friday.
“Our units will be on duty establishing security in the digital realm… in particular, our cybercrimes team will be following terror organisation propaganda or other sorts of provocation on social media,” he said.
Following a speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) youth branch convention on Friday in which he said, “I know, you are bored,” Turkey’s social media users created another phenomenon: “We are bored!”
Erdoğan’s previous comment about stepping aside if the nation were to say “Tamam” (“enough” or “OK” in Turkish), critical Twitter users tweeted “T A M A M” millions of times in protest of Erdoğan’s bid to serve as president for five more years.
According to Euronews, “We are bored!” (S I K I L D I K) hit worldwide trends in a couple of hours and reached almost half a million tweets.
After ‘TAMAM’ attracted worldwide attention, AKP supporters tried to create their own trending topic, ‘Go on’ (DEVAM); however, it was unable to compete with “TAMAM.” (SCF with Ahval)