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Turkey Leading in Twitter Censorship around the world

By Ela Gonca İzmirli

According to latest Twitter Transparency Report, Turkey is leading in requests for removal of posts from Twitter. Out of the 894 court orders for removal of an account in the second half of 2016, a staggering 94% were asked by Turkish courts. Turkey demanded the removal of 844 Twitter accounts.

Turkey submitted 2813 court orders for removal of 36434 Twitter accounts since 2012. Twitter withheld 1130 twitter accounts and removed 7884 tweets during this period. Twitter became less likely to grant court requests from Turkey.  The percentage of content withheld due to Turkish court requests went down to 19% from 50% in the same period in 2014.

Twitter added some new data to its latest report about verified journalists and news outlets. Twitter stated that they “received 88 court orders and other legal requests from around the world, 88% of those coming from Turkey, directing us to remove content posted by verified journalists and news outlet accounts. Twitter did not take any action on the vast majority of these requests, with limited exceptions in Germany and Turkey.”

Twitter reported that the one withheld Tweet in Germany posted by a verified account was for violating an individual’s personal rights in response to a court order.

Twitter said that for Turkey, they withheld “15 Tweets and 14 accounts in response to the 77 requests about verified journalists and news outlets,” some including gory images following a terror attack. Some content was censored for violating a National Security Council following the coup attempt in July 2016. Twitter also reported that they filed legal objections in response to all court orders “involving journalists and news outlets, arguing that those decisions may be contrary to protections of freedom of expression” but none of the objections prevailed in Turkish courts.

In its report, Twitter stated that they withheld 290 accounts and 489 Tweets in Turkey. Following 3,076 court orders and legal requests from Turkish courts, Twitter was directed to remove the content, citing violations of personal rights under Article 24 of Turkish Civil Code and other local laws.

Twitter reported that during the period June December 2016 they had 1,368 requests to remove content regarding the failed coup attempt, terror attacks and private information leaks. Twitter issued 314 legal objections in response. According to the report, only five of these objections prevailed in Turkish courts.

 

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