Jul 21 2014

Turkey’s Twitter Ban and Why the Country’s Still Tweeting

When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided on Thursday to “wipe out” Twitter, banning the microblogging website across the country, he made it more popular than ever. In a few hours after the ban, hashtags like #TurkeyblockedTwitter and #TwitterisblockedinTurkey becametrending topics. Turkish netizens managed to post more than half a million tweets in the 10 hours following the ban with an average of about 1.8 million tweets per day, according to Al Jazeera. That figure quickly grew to the point of setting a new record for the country.

Activists online and offline, inside and outside Turkey began to spread information on how to circumvent censorship. The ban effectively introduced average users to new skills and tools. On social media a number of satirical memes were circulated, such as an altered Obama campaign poster that features Erdogan with a “Yes, We Ban!” slogan and another calling on citizens to “Keep calm and change your DNS.” There was also another variation: “Keep calm and,” where the numbers refer to the IP addresses for the Google Public DNS. People also graffitied these tips on building walls and displayed them on posters.