New Law in Turkey Gives Added Social Media Power To Govt

New Law in Turkey Gives Added Social Media Power To Govt

A law was been passed by the Turkey government recently that lets the government store user data found in their social media accounts. What’s the motive behind this move? What do the critics have to say?

Crux of the Matter

What Happened?
The Turkish lawmakers passed legislation on 29th July that gives them the authority to regulate social media content. This has raised concerns about the country falling under greater governmental control, as social media was one of the few places for free public debate in Turkey. Starting from Oct. 1, it requires social media companies to store user data in the nation’s internal servers itself.

What Does The Bill State?
It orders popular social giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to open offices in Turkey and impose strict rules.

These offices would be responsible for meeting the demands of both the individuals and government. They can block content hosted on their platforms that is deemed inappropriate.

What If They Don’t Obey?
The dire consequences of disobeying the law would be slowing the bandwidth of the sites and making them mostly inaccessible. Moreover, the company offices would have 48 hours to comply and the fine for being late would be $700,000+.

Experts’ Take On Why It Was Passed
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and governing A.K.P. party behind the legislation cited that this move was needed to “protect citizens from cybercrime.”

Critics say that things took a personal turn when the president’s family was being targeted in social media criticism. Many reporters have been jailed to date, and many have left the country in fear.

As it is offline, conventional media houses are under the scanner of the Turkish government, with 90% of them being controlled by businesses close to the government. Now, this law would be the start of an online censorship regime.

History Of Its “Online Mess”

  • In 2016 before an attempted coup, Turkey had seen an online battle of the government loyals and the general public.
  • In 2017 Wikipedia was banned there, till it was lifted this year.
  • In 2019, streaming services like Netflix were targeted, with entertainment programs being rigorously censored. The series “If Only” was even cancelled as a result, because it was based on a gay character.

  • A Black and White photo challenge is a recent social media trend which has started from Turkey, where the campaign is associated with raising awareness about femicide in the country. It is so because, b&w photos of murdered women are shown in the country’s media.
  • The Justice and Development Party, abbreviated officially AK Parti in Turkish, is a conservative political party in Turkey. The current party leader is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the incumbent President of Turkey.
  • Yeşilçam is the sobriquet that refers to Turkish film art and industry. The first Turkish-made film was a documentary entitled Ayastefanos’taki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı (Demolition of the Russian Monument at San Stefano), directed by Fuat Uzkınay and completed in 1914.

Social Media Responds To Social Upheavals

Social Media Responds To Social Upheavals

At a time when the #BlackLivesMatter movement has gained momentum, there is a rising social media upheaval regarding the recent posts citing harsh remarks that propagate racism. In a sensitive hour like this, what is the silver lining between censorship and political correctness on social media? How can tech giants moderate the users’ virtual persona and make it a friendly presence for all?

Crux of the Matter

Across The Globe
Recently Reddit’s co-founder, Alexis Ohania resigned from the company’s board, pledging his seat to a black candidate, acknowledging how leaving content moderation to volunteers had made it a haven for spreading racist ideologies. This move comes after the ex-CEO Ellen Pao criticized the current one, Steve HuffMan for not taking action against prejudiced subreddits till large subreddits joined in protests against the site.

After POTUS Donald Trump’s recent post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbeg acknowledged the post but still decided not to remove it, there was a mob of angry people at the social media giant, with employees quitting, contractors threatening to terminate contracts to fund the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. On the other hand, Trump’s tribute to George Floyd on Twitter was removed citing copyright issues.

Social Media & India
#CensorWebSeries : The trend with 65K mentions in a single day focuses on Amazon Prime Video’s Paatal Lok, a show that deals with religion and caste, which the tweets say are “anti-Hindu”.

TikTok outrage: TikTok ordered moderators in India to censor content that was against the Chinese communist party. This is after it repeatedly faced heat for imposing a shadow ban – A user who uploads the content is not notified but other users never get to see it as it doesn’t come up on anyone’s feed. Similarly, many raised voices against lax measures taken by TikTok against censoring sensitive content in India.

Zoom and Twitter disable accounts: Recently Zoom temporarily shut down an account of US-based rights campaigners who held an online discussion, that marked the anniversary of China’s 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. This subsequently has raised an alarm about curbing free speech.

Amul advertising boycott of Chinese products. 

Following in similar footsteps, Twitter blocked Amul India’s account on June 4 and restored it the next day after it released a creative campaign depicting Atmanirbhar Bharat, urging readers to buy products made in India and not China. Twitter cites this decision was necessary as per its security protocol while Amul MD RS Sodhi has retorted back stating how the Amul girl speaks her mind out.

Great Power, Greater Responsibility
Cross communication across impactful companies and platforms needs to be encouraged. Strict enforcement of legal actions towards any insensitive behavior online. A uniform committee needs to be assembled on diversity, equity, and inclusion to deal with the current issues being raised while organizing sensitization conferences for all employees.

Playing the blame game is going to get us nowhere. There should be a long term solution that persists when the hashtags stop trending and the protests stop attracting crowds. That is when real change will happen.

  • After introducing work from home for all of its employees globally in March, Twitter has recently made an announcement stating that it will give its employees to forever work from home even after the pandemic. Work from home even after the pandemic will provide benefits such as reduced commute times, lower pollution levels, reduced operational costs, and increased morale.
  • Audio-streaming giant Spotify, as part of its Blackout Tuesday initiatives, is including an 8-minute, 46-second track of silence on select playlists and podcasts. That is meant “as a solemn acknowledgment for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated,” Spotify said.

Netizens in Shock as PM Modi hints to take a break from Social Media


With 53.3 million twitter followers, PM Narendra Modi is the world’s third most popular leader on Twitter. On 1st March, he made a surprising announcement that he is mulling over taking a break from social media. Later, he announced that his social media accounts will be handed to chosen women on Women’s Day, 8th March.

Crux of the Matter

Modiji – Millenial by Media
He is currently active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube with a huge fan base. With this announcement, his followers are shocked, and with #NoSir and #NarendraModi trending, they are asking him not to give up social media.

In less than an hour, the tweet got nearly 62,000+ retweets with over 150K likes. Some users also speculated that his account might have been hacked. He had joined Twitter at a time when only a few politicians were active on the platform in January 2009 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Later he became the first Indian to cross 50 million followers on Twitter.

PM Modi has 44 million followers on Facebook, 53.3 million on Twitter, 35.2 million on Instagram and 4.51 million on Youtube.

Reactions to the Announcement
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a jibe on PM’s plan and advised him to give up hatred and not social media.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Respected Modi ji, Earnestly wish you would give this advise to the concerted army of trolls, who abuse-intimidate-badger-threaten others every second in you name! Sincere Regards, Citizens of India” Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav also tweeted: “Thinking of closing the path of social dialogue is not a good thing. There are other more meaningful things to leave.” Many of the BJP leaders like Amruta Fadnavis came in PM’s support and said they will also follow his footsteps and take an exit from their social media.

Many of his fans soon started announcing that they will also follow PM’s move while some offered possible explanations for his decision. Later in the day, it became a hot topic for memes on social media.

Narendra Modi made an announcement that his social media accounts will be handed to inspiring women on 8 March 2020, Women’s Day. He asked to share entries of inspiring women using #SheInspiresUs.


Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service (SMS) or its mobile-device application software. Twitter, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California, and has more than 25 offices around the world. It was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams. As of 2018, Twitter had more than 321 million monthly active users. More Info

Indian Army Issues Advisory to Refrain from Social Media

In an advisory issued by the Indian army, officers holding critical posts would have to deactivate their Facebook accounts and have been asked not to use the WhatsApp, for any official communication as it has turned out to be a crucial source of collecting intelligence.

Crux of the Matter
  • The Indian Army advisory says WhatsApp and Facebook are vulnerable platforms through which substantial information can be extracted from OSINT or open-source intelligence.
  • The advisory cautions to not link Gmail accounts to multiple other applications which can compromise sensitive information on the email account.
  • Armed forces personnel and their families have been discouraged from posting their pictures in uniform or photographs of locations which might give out details of sensitive locations on social media.
  • Army personnel have asked to be cautious in giving out personal and professional details on social media platforms and should ensure correct privacy settings.
  • Due to the susceptibility of smartphones to cyber attacks forces have been asked to use phones only for voice calls and SMS and not any other applications.

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is data collected from publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. In the intelligence community, the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources. OSINT is primarily used in national security, law enforcement, and business intelligence functions and is of value to analysts who use non-sensitive intelligence. With the advent of instant communications and rapid information transfer, a great deal of actionable and predictive intelligence can now be obtained from public, unclassified sources. More Info