Even though Twitter may not be pulling down marketshare at the moment ( Twitter May Be the Next MySpace), it is one of the main social media sites for voicing political opposition in times of public dissatisfaction and unrest.
Twitter was ‘blocked’ in Turkey by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, on March 20 as a way of controlling tweets about political corruption. However, even though the Turkish court has ruled that it should be unblocked, the government has 30 days to put Twitter back into action (Twitter website ‘blocked’ in Turkey). The use of Twitter to voice political dissent, the political action to ban Twitter in an attempt to control public opinion and the subsequent events that followed are a classic example of the interplay of the various aspects of the ITGS Triangle (stakeholders, scenario, IT systems, and social and ethical impacts).
Before the blocking, tweets using hashtags including #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #DictatorErdogan were posted directly to Twitter. In the meanwhile how do the Turkish people communicate via Twitter? Now posts are uploaded to Twitter using a variety of means including proxy servers or by sending SMS messages directly to Twitter. Grafitti with alternative DNS addresses was even painted on walls to provide alternative servers access to Twitter. The following message was also posted on the Twitter Policy webpage.
Twitter Policy: https://twitter.com/policy/status/446775722120458241
What Turkish Users Are Doing to Evade the Twitter Ban includes a description of additional computer methods that are being used (i.e. VPN servers, TOR and Chrome plug-ins such as ZenMate and HideMyAss that mask the IP Address of the computer being used). However, on the Twitter policy page there is still concern being voiced that the source of the tweets could possibly be traced back to the cellphone or computer and consequently to the user.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also proclaimed that he will wipe out all social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube. YouTube was also blocked on March 27th in spite of the court decision that Twitter should be unblocked. Apparently an audio recording was leaked on YouTube revealed that top Turkey officials were planning fake an attack against their own country from Syrian soil as an excuse to wage war on Syria (Turkey blocks YouTube after audio recording leaked). However, some top government officials do not support the banning of Twitter including the Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arinç, and Ankara Mayor, Melih Gökçek. Even President Abdullah Gül indicated in his own Twitter account how he is opposed to the ban.
Clearly the ban is not effective. It seems that lessons that should have been learned from the attempts to ban social media (ie Facebook and Twitter) in the “Arab Spring” are being ignored by the Turkish Prime Minister. In the first day effect yesterday, there were approximately 2.5 million tweets from within Turkey with an average of around 17,000 tweets per minute. Moreover, use of Twitter in Turkey has actually risen by 33 per cent (Banning Twitter, the Turkish Media Experiment). The public disfavor for banning Twitter has been displayed in range of cartoons and photos in the article Turkey’s Prime Minister Trying to Ban Twitter, Gets Stuffed.
Additional research can be undertaken to fill in the details of the ITGS Triangle for this particular scenario and to follow future developments relating to this news item.