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How Are Facebook’s Censorship Policies Affecting Turkish Protests?

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish blogger, Tu?ba Sivri:

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More on Facebook’s suppression of Turkish opposition to Erdogan.

The objectivity of the media and media ownership have become a subject of strong debate with the Gezi protests. The mainstream media’s blindness to the protests during the first days of demonstrations, their reporting the news in a pro-government manner during the protests and manipulating the truth, and lastly, their purging of columnists who wrote against the government have brought the issue of the media-government relationship to the fore once again.

During all these events, citizen media and journalism have become a hopeful new medium for the people. However, the latest censorship policies applied on Facebook are disproving the technological-determinist perspective that sees the Internet as a “medium of revolution” and a savior. Many opposition pages on Facebook, including Otekilerin Postasi, a citizen-journalism platform, have been closed down. The official Facebook page of BDP (the ethnic Kurdish party) has also been affected by this censorship. Several Facebook users have protested against Facebook by deactivating their Facebook accounts right after Carsi’s, the BDP deputies’ and some Alevi and LGBT groups’ pages were closed down.

Maritime and Communication Minister Binali Yildirim had announced that “Facebook has been in cooperation with Turkish authorities for a long time. They have a local office too. We have no problem with them.” After this statement, it became obvious that social-media platforms, through their closing down of these pages, are acting like regular mainstream media platforms in terms of the state-business relationship, considering it more important to be guided by interest-owners rather than being motivated by the people’s right to information and freedom of expression. Because unlike traditional media platforms, the social media have no sharp borders; new pages can be opened in place of a closed one, and people continue supporting these pages. So it is possible to say that the censorship in the social media can only be a strategy of deterrence, and that by taking possession of the alternative media, this censorship can be prevented.

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