Twittersphere rallies to help Turks by-pass blockView(s):
WASHINGTON (AFP) -The global Internet community rallied to help Twitter users in Turkey circumvent a block on the popular messaging service on Friday, as some experts said Ankara’s efforts are backfiring.
After Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened toto “wipe out” Twitter and the site went dark there Thursday, there was no lack of help from activists, Internet companies and others.
“Trying to ban Twitter has backfired,” said Philip Howard, who heads the Digital Activism Research Project at the University of Washington.
“It’s drawn the world’s attention to the country’s increasingly tough censorship and surveillance strategy.” Howard told AFP the Turkish move quickly became a “trending topic” on Twitter which prompted fresh criticism of the government.
“News of the ban seems to have driven more Turks to try Twitter out for the first time — breaking national records for twitter use. Tip sheets for getting around the ban spread like wildfire,” he said.
Shortly after Twitter connections were broken, the US-based social media giant posted a message reminding users they could get onto the platform through SMS text messaging.
Other activists pointed to ways to tweak a computer’s Internet settings to access Twitter.
And some firms offered access to their VPN — a virtual private network which masks the user’s information to circumvent the ban.
Around the world, #Turkey and #TurkeyBlockedTwitter were big topics on the social platform.
‘Flood’ of tweets
Zeynep Tufekci, a University of North Carolina sociologist who is Turkish, followed the news in real time and posted a blog on how her compatriots responded.
“People circumvented, one by one, and then in a flood,” she wrote.
“By the end of it all, most trending topics worldwide, and of course in Turkey, were about the blocking of Twitter, and of course, opposing it.
“Let alone be deterred, the number of tweets in Turkish and from Turkey were close to record-breaking levels.” Turkey has been one of the most popular countries for the one-to-many messaging service, and has been used to help organise protests.