Can the government have control over your access to Facebook and Twitter? Continue reading this post to find out more.
Social media is often viewed as a way for us to freely express and discuss different opinions. It is not just about stalking your friends or posting about what you had for lunch. Social media is a great way for our voices to be heard by like-minded people who share our views and beliefs. This is why when it comes to political communication nowadays, Facebook and Twitter are often mentioned as the driving forces behind the choices that people make when it comes to voting, for example.
By giving people a way to voice their opinion, you are giving them the power to demand change. This is why social media is both a blessing and curse when it comes to government and politics. It can help communicate new ideas but it can also be used by people in order to go against decisions they do not agree with.
In recent years, people have started to use social media as a way to gather together and organize protests against their governments. In this instance, the government would sometimes react by limiting or completely shutting down access to the Internet or certain social media channels.
This is what has been happening in Turkey over the past couple of years. Whenever there are news of an upbringing caused by some kind of political distabilization, the Turkish government would do anything in their power to stop people from accessing social media. The main reason for this is so that they could control the information flowting around at that time and limit its reach.
A recent example of this was from the beginning of November, 2016, when 11 Kurdish-backed politicians were arrested. The government quickly blocked access to the Internet by slowing it down. This was done as a precaution as they feared that people would want to gather and protest. Internet restrictions are now very common in Turkey as a way of suppressing media coverage of political incidents.
How people get informed
TurkeyBlocks is a site that serves as a way to monitor and detect restrictions throughout Turkey. It is an independent, non-partisan digital transparency project that identifies internet censorship through “a combination of digital forensic techniques.” They are also very active on Twitter where they share daily reports of any disruptions or restrictions that their software has detected. This is a very good way for people to get informed when there is an ongoing governmental blackout.
Turkey is not the only country that has blocked social media. Dadaviz have created a map showing the five countries alongside Turkey where government has established certain limits over the Internet. These include: Iran, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, and North Korea, which is entirely closed off from social media.
Learning about all of this has given me a different perspective on the way social media functions. I would really like to hear your thoughts about this as well so, feel free to leave a comment down below.
– Plami x