How social media post landed hundreds into trouble in Turkey

social media

In as much as one would like to be active on social media, its usage should also be watched as about 248 have been arrested in Turkey over posts on social media that allegedly were supportive of terrorist acts or insulted leaders.

Report from the state-run Anadolu news agency  also mentioned that close to 700 people were released under judicial control.

In fact, the government actively encourages people to report social media accounts that either insult or mock leaders or voice support for various organizations.

It is also clear that terrorist use the social media in all forms as a tool to spread their messages due to the convenience, affordability, and broad reach of the platforms. Although this is not to also say that the medium is not being used for positive activities.

In December, Anadolu reported that Turkish authorities opened investigations into 3,710 people over social media posts, while 1,656 suspects were formally arrested, over the previous six months.

The latest report noted the double suicide bombing in December in Istanbul which targeted security forces outside a football stadium, killing more than 45 people, including several civilians, saying some arrests pertained to comments on this attack.

In a study by Gabriel Weimann from the University of Haifa, quoted on wikipedia, Weimann found that nearly 90% of organized terrorism on the internet takes place via social media. According to Weimann, terror groups use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and internet forums to spread their messages, recruit members and gather intelligence.

Terror groups take to social media because social media tools are cheap and accessible, facilitate quick, broad dissemination of messages, and allow for unfettered communication with an audience without the filter or “selectivity” of mainstream news outlets. Also, social media platforms allow terror groups to engage with their networks. Whereas previously terror groups would release messages via intermediaries, social media platforms allow terror groups to release messages directly to their intended audience and converse with their audience in real time.