Twitter’s decision to suspend 7000 accounts in Turkey is baseless
Twitter announced that it has shut down 7340 “state linked” accounts in Turkey which promoted Turkey’s ruling party’s narrative on 11 June 2020. However, Twitter failed to elaborate how these accounts were “state-linked” and how they “promoted the government narrative.” Although Twitter claimed that it suspended only “fake” or “state-linked” accounts which systematically promoted the ruling party’s rhetoric, some of the accounts suspended says otherwise.
Twitter also did not disclose what their criteria were and how they detected the accounts. But, the report that Twitter cited when coming to this decision regarding Turkey gives us a glimpse on what authorities Twitter relied upon when taking this decision. Twitter referred to the report called “Political Retweet Rings and Compromised Accounts: A Twitter Influence Operation Linked to the Youth Wing of Turkey’s Ruling Party,” prepared by the Stanford Internet Observatory. Two Turkish researcher have their names as the authors of the report: Fazil Alp Akis and Ayça Alemdaroglu. However, when looking closely at these names, one clearly sees that both names are far from being unbiased.
Fazil Alp Akis shared many posts promoting Group Yorum, a far-left Marxist group whose members are given prison sentences for being members of the DHKP-C, a designated terrorist organization in Turkey and also in the US. Likewise, Ayca Alemdaroglu regularly shares posts in support of the Kurdish separatist groups in Turkey. Additionally, while she is preparing a report for suspending accounts systematically promoting a political rhetoric, she criticizes when Twitter suspends the opposition figure Canan Kaftancioglu’s account for inciting hatred.
When taking this decision, the company does not provide any transparency and justifications for suspend over 7000 accounts in Turkey. In conclusion, Twitter’s move is arbitrary and it does not have any ethical and logical basis.