“A Menace That Is Called Twitter”


Pablo Barberá and Megan Metzger examine how social media is being used during the current protests:

What is unique about this particular case is how Twitter is being used to spread information about the demonstrations from the ground. Unlike some other recent uprisings, around 90% of all geolocated tweets are coming from within Turkey, and 50% from within Istanbul (see map below). In comparison, Starbird (2012) estimated that only 30% of those tweeting during the Egyptian revolution were actually in the country. Additionally, approximately 88% of the tweets are in Turkish, which suggests the audience of the tweets is other Turkish citizens and not so much the international community.

Oray Egin highlights how, more and more, the country is turning to the tweets:

According to March 2011 data from comScore Media Metrix, which monitors internet traffic, 16.6 percent of internet users over the age of 15 use Twitter in Turkey, and the country ranked eighth in internet penetration for Twitter. … [During the current protests , m]any Twitter users tagged posts about the protests with the #direngaziparki hashtag, while journalists and academics #OccupyGezi to inform world media of the protests. Along with photos and videos, wi-fi passwords were distributed by Twitter. Calls for food and water and contact information for lawyers and doctors were also spread on the social media site.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the Turkish government isn’t a fan of social media. How Erdogan described it on Sunday:

Now we have a menace that is called Twitter. The best example of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.

(Photo: A protestor uses Twitter on a mobile phone to give latest news about the clashes near Taksim in Istanbul on June 3, 2013. By Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)