musk censors twitter in turkey

Elon Musk has defended the decision to censor Twitter in Turkey ahead of the key elections. Musk, who proclaimed himself as a “free speech absolutist” has said that it is better than throttling the service in the country.

In a tweet, Twitter’s official Global Government Affairs account said “In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today.”

Turkey is facing its most contested election in years and the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing a tough battle from 74-year-old Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

When Matthew Yglesias, a Bloomberg columnist called out Musk for agreeing to censor Twitter in Turkey, Musk replied, “Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias? The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?

When he officially bid for Twitter, Musk claimed that “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.”

However, he also said that the company would comply with the laws of the land in the jurisdictions where it operates.

Incidentally, under Musk, Twitter has complied with 30% more government censorship requests than under his predecessor’s tenure.

Among the most controversial of these was of censoring a BBC documentary critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Musk Censors Twitter in Turkey Ahead of Elections

Notably, apart from Twitter, Musk also owns SpaceX and is the majority owner of Tesla. SpaceX has helped Turkey launch satellites and Musk and Erdogan have discussed about lithium batteries.

Musk faces a similar dilemma in China which is among the major markets for Tesla. Earlier this year, the country chided Musk after he replied to a tweet about the Wuhan lab leak report.

As for the censoring in Turkey, it would be worthwhile to note that Erdogan banned Twitter ahead of the 2014 elections also.

The banned was subsequently overturned by the country’s courts but even during the ban the social media platform offered a workaround by allowing users to tweet through SMS.

Musk has Tapped Linda Yaccarino to Head Twitter

Musk has meanwhile tapped Linda Yaccarino, who previously headed advertising at NBCUniversal, to lead Twitter. Last year, Musk said that he will quit as the company’s CEO when he finds someone “foolish enough” for the job.

Notably, Tesla’s stock also nosedived 65% in 2022 and had its worst-ever year – at least in part due to controversies surrounding Musk’s Twitter acquisition.

Musk’s decision to quit as Twitter CEO hasn’t had much impact though and the stock closed lower on Friday despite the announcement.

Meanwhile, last month Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who supported Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition despite the board’s disapproval criticized him saying he is not the “right” steward for the social media company.

Twitter has been in a sort of chaos ever since Musk took over. The company is facing multiple lawsuits from landlords, former employees, as well as other vendors.

It has also laid off around 80% of the workforce by Musk’s own admission. Musk has also been making haphazard decisions – the most recent one being related to Twitter Blue subscription where the company restored blue ticks for all celebrities.

Multiple reports have suggested that instances of hate speech have increased on Twitter since Musk took over – even though he has denied so.

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