Twitter told users in Turkey that it would not “betray their trust” by turning over users’ account data to the Turkish government. The company also refused government requests to block certain accounts. YouTube also refused to delete controversial content in spite of requests from the Turkish government.
Twitter once again showed its support for protesters in Turkey on Monday, stating that it will not violate its users’ privacy by turning over account information, nor will it take down or block certain accounts just because the Turkish government asked it to do so. YouTube also refused point blank to censor its services.
The Turkish Journalists’ Association filed a complaint in Ankara court in Turkey against the ban on Twitter. The group represents 3,300 journalists in Turkey, a country that up until recently, was widely considered very modern and open.
The group’s legal representation argues that the ban violated the Turkish people’s freedom of information, which is protected by the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared that he would “wipe out” social media in Turkey, in hopes of containing and eliminating protests against his government. Turkish authorities blocked access to Twitter on Thursday and demanded that the micro-blogging site block or delete offending accounts. Twitter began talks with Turkey on Friday, in hopes of ending the ban on its services, but also tweeted its support to users in Turkey.
It is unclear if Twitter will relent and block the requested accounts, but Twitter stated that it would only block accounts if they violated the company’s policy. Overall, it seems unlikely that Twitter will give in to the government’s demands. The micro-blogging site is notoriously a strong defender of free speech and many protest movements have been launched via Twitter.
Additionally, the Turkish government tightened it control over the Internet over the weekend, eliminating a work around, which allowed users to view blocked sites such as Twitter. Twitter also issued yet another statement in support of its users in Turkey, denying claims that the company planned to release sensitive user data to the Turkish government. The micro-blogging site told the Turkish people that it will defend their privacy no matter what.
Some reports indicated that Twitter has hired legal representation to fight the ban in Turkey on the grounds that it is illegal. Several legal experts in Turkey agree that even though the Turkish Parliament did vote to extend the government’s control over the Internet, an all-out ban is still in violation of Turkish law.
YouTube also refused to block content on its website, though it reportedly fears that the video-posting website will soon be blocked as well.
“We support a free and open Internet throughout the world and are concerned whenever and wherever it comes under threat,” Google said in a statement.