'Propaganda machine': Turkey blasts Twitter over mass removal of pro-Erdogan accounts

'Propaganda machine': Turkey blasts Twitter over mass removal of pro-Erdogan accounts
Turkey heavily criticised Twitter after the platform removed over 7,000 accounts it says were part of state-linked information operations.
2 min read
12 June, 2020
Twitter said it has suspended 7,340 Turkish profiles that were employing "coordinated inauthentic activity" [Getty]
Turkey criticised Twitter on Friday after the social media network removed over 7,000 accounts that supported President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his political party.

On Friday, Twitter announced it has cracked down on "state-linked information operations" from Turkey, Russia and China, and has suspended thousands of accounts for violations of the social network's platform manipulation policies.

Twitter said in a statement it has suspended 7,340 profiles that were employing "coordinated inauthentic activity" targeting an audience within Turkey.

"Based on our analysis of the network’s technical indicators and account behaviors, the collection of fake and compromised accounts was being used to amplify political narratives favorable to the AK Parti, and demonstrated strong support for President Erdogan," said Twitter.

Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish government's communications director, said in a statement that Twitter's findings were "unscientific, utterly biased and politically motivated".

"This arbitrary act, hidden behind the smokescreen of transparency and freedom of expression, has demonstrated yet again that Twitter is no mere social media company, but a propaganda machine with a certain political and ideological inclinations, which does not refrain from smearing users and stakeholders that it deems to be incompatible with those views," said Altun.

Altun added that Twitter's decision was an attempt to "redesign Turkish politics" and "promote black propaganda by anti-Turkey entities" such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Gulen movement.

"We would like to remind this company of the eventual fate of a number of organisations, which attempted to take similar steps in the past," the statement reads.

Turkey had previously blocked access to Wikipedia in 2017 over accusations that the online encyclopedia was part of a "smear campaign" against the country after the online encyclopedia refused to remove content that allegedly portrayed Turkey as supporting the Islamic State group and other terrorist organisations.

After almost three years, the ban was overturned by a court ruling in January.

According to Twitter's Transparency Report, Turkey, Japan and Russia receive 80% of the global number of requests to remove content.

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