1,734 arrested, 18,000 on detention list on terror propaganda charges on social media

A total of 1,734 people have been arrested since a failed coup attempt on July 15 while 18,194 others on a detention list on charges of making ‘terror propaganda’ from their social media accounts, according to the official figures announced on Thursday.

Cyber crime police units which examine social media accounts and internet sites have found out that ‘terrorism propaganda’ was made from 69,937 social media accounts since July 15. The users of 22,088 of these accounts have been identified, 3,894 of them have been detained, 1,743 of them have been arrested while 2,151 people have been released, 1,328 on judicial probation.

Public prosecutors are expected to issue detention warrants for 18,194 people while police continue their work to identify the 47,849 accounts. Turkish government has assessed any critical stance as “a terror act” or “a support to terrorism” by abusing broad definition of “terror” in Turkey’s anti-terrorism law. Partial and partisan Turkish prosecutors have recently cited Twitter messages as terror evidence especially for critical journalists.

Turkey is also a champion among the countries which are ramping up its efforts to censor social media.  The biannual report, which was released on Sept. 2016 and covers the first half of the year, has showed that unsurprisingly, the world’s consistent leader in Twitter censorship is Turkey.

Turkey has done everything to silence social media in wake of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defined Twitter as “the worst menace to society” thanks to its use as a tool for protesters. Turkish government has leveraged its broad anti-terrorism law, which courts have interpreted to include descriptions of terrorism as terrorism itself, to censor both verified journalists on Twitter and even people who simply retweet them.

Turkey requested Twitter to censor 8,092 accounts in the latter half of 2015 to 14,953 to the first half of 2016. In respective periods, Twitter blocked 414 and 222 accounts, respectively. After a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, censorship have radically increased. In the last half of 2015, the world tried to censor 11,092 Twitter accounts, the number of skyrocketed to 20,571 in 2nd half of 2016.

Feb. 23, 2017

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