Twitter has announced that it would restrict Turkish users’ access to some content in response to the “legal process” and to ensure the platform “remains available to the people” of Türkiye during the presidential and parliamentary elections in their country.
In a statement on Saturday, the company did not specify what accounts would be affected, but said it had informed the “account holders” about the action. Many users, including journalist Matthew Yglesias, took issue with the decision.
“The Turkish government asked Twitter to censor its opponents right before an election and [Musk] complied,” Yglesias claimed in a tweet.
Twitter boss Elon Musk quickly pushed back in a tweet of his own, justifying the decision to place restrictions on content seen from Türkiye.
“Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias? The choice is [to] have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?” he said.
“This is par for the course for all Internet companies – we are just going to be clear that it’s happening, unlike the others,” Musk later added. In a separate post, he promised to “post what the government in Turkey sent us.”
On Sunday, voters in Türkiye will cast their ballots for the president and 600 members of the country’s parliament, the Grand National Assembly. Multiple polls predict a tight race for the presidency between incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Ankara occasionally limits access to social media after emergencies, such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters, citing the need to prevent panic and the spread of false information. In March 2014, the Turkish communications regulator completely blocked access to Twitter, citing failure to remove “harmful content.” The ban was lifted the following month.