Twitter Proves Again It's Willing to Cave to Authoritarians as it Blocks Reporter On Orders from Turkish Dictator

Twitter has come under fire more than a few times in the last year for censorship at the behest of groups that seek to control narratives. Usually, this comes in the form of capitulating to the demands of cry-bullies, and social justice warriors, but Twitter has recently shown that it will also bend over and play nice with dictators.

Mahir Zeynalov is a Turkish reporter that has covered politics and culture in his country for 7 years. Based out of DC, he has been tracking the jailing and silencing of Turkish reporters for months. Since Erdogen took office in 2014, an unprecedented crackdown on journalists has occurred. Zeynalov hasn’t been shy about this breach of free speech, and as a result has earned the ire of the Turkish government. Unwilling to enact their usual brand of silencing with Zeynalov safe in the states, the Turkish government turned to Twitter for help in silencing him.

And Twitter agreed to help, thus blocking all of Turkey from seeing Zeynalov’s tweets.

Zeynalov made the announcement in a series of tweets that have since gone viral, that the site contacted him and informed him that they were cutting him off by order of the Turkish government. The reasoning? For “instigating terrorism.”

According to Zeynalov, Twitter told him that they have to comply with Turkish regulations.

That Twitter would cave to such a blatant attempt at media control not only speaks negatively about the companies willingness to embrace free speech, it probably wouldn’t surprise many. Twitter has shadow-blocked many a user, with many reporting that tweets are not showing up in feeds regardless of whether or not people are following them. People, such as Glenn Reynolds, are suspended on Twitter for tweeting out common sense solutions for violence done against them.

Twitter even bans anti-feminist rhetoric, yet seems to pardon Islamic State accounts which openly engage in terror. If Twitter is okay with blocking people for “instigating terrorism,” then it seems rather selective. Regardless, that it did so at the behest of a dictatorial government looking to silence opposing voices makes Twitter complicit in that government crackdown on freedom.

That is a stain Twitter will have a hard time washing off.