Twitter Fighting Censorship? (Man Bites Dog Story?)

Twitter sues Turkey over ‘terror propaganda’ fine

From the post:

Twitter has challenged Turkey in an Ankara court seeking to cancel a $50,000 fine for not removing content from its website, the social media site’s lawyer told Al Jazeera on Thursday.

Turkey temporarily banned access to Twitter several times in the past for failing to comply with requests to remove content. But the 150,000 lira ($50,000) fine imposed by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) was the first of its kind imposed by Turkish authorities on Twitter.

A Turkish official told Reuters news agency on Thursday that much of the material in question was related to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Ankara called “terrorist propaganda”.

Twitter, in its lawsuit, is arguing the fine goes against Turkish law and should be annulled, the official told Reuters.

Reading about Twitter opposing censorship is like seeing a news account about a man biting a dog. That really is news!

I say that because only a few months ago in Secretive Twitter Censorship Fairy Strikes Again!, I pointed to reports of Twitter silencing 10,000 Islamic State accounts on April 2nd of 2015. More censorship of Islamic State accounts followed but that’s an impressive total for one day.

From all reports, entirely at Twitter’s on initiative. Why Twitter decided to single out accounts that favor the Islamic State over those that favor the U.S. military isn’t clear. The U.S. military is carrying out daily bombing attacks in Iraq and Syria, something you can’t say about the Islamic State.

Now Twitter finds itself in the unhappy position of being an inadequate censor, a censor that violates the fundamental premise of being a common carrier, that is it is open to all opinions, fair and foul, and a censor that has failed a state that is even less tolerant of free speech than Twitter.

Despised by one side for censorship and loathed by the other for being an inadequate toady.

Not an enviable position.

Just my suggestion but Twitter needs to reach out to the telcos and others who provide international connectivity for phones and other services to Turkey.

A 24 to 72 hour black-out of all telecommunications, for banks, media, phone, internet, should give the Turkish government a taste of the economic disruption, to say nothing of disruption of government, that will follow future attempts to censor, fine or block any international common carrier.

The telcos and other have the power to bring outlandish actors such as the Turkish government to a rapid heel.

It’s time that power was put to use.

You see, no bombs, no boots on the ground, no lengthy and tiresome exchanges of blustering speeches, just a quick trip back to the 19th century to remind Turkey’s leaders how painful a longer visit could be.

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