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POLITICS > Fake social media accounts to be prevented: Turkish Deputy PM

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

As the government works on plans to fight social media crimes, Deputy PM Bekir Bozdağ suggests 'fake accounts' should be prevented

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Young people use smartphones and tablets at Gezi Park before the park was evacuated. Social media was the main tool of communication in protests. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Young people use smartphones and tablets at Gezi Park before the park was evacuated. Social media was the main tool of communication in protests. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The Turkish government’s work on regulating social media is not aimed at restricting its use, but rather at targeting fake accounts on Twitter, Facebook and similar sites, a senior government official has said, regarding the government’s disturbance at the heavy use of such means during three-week long Gezi Park protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said many fake accounts had been set up and that this should be prevented. “If someone is opening up an account, everybody should know the person who opened the account. When we look into the recent incidents, there are many fake accounts opened for someone else. They don’t know this. Tweets are being sent from those accounts. Provocations are being done against people. To avoid all these things, there are some regulations being made to make this place used correctly. Regulations will be shared with the public when the time comes. There will be investigations about what kind of preventive measures are taken into consideration both in Turkey and internationally,” he said.

“The opening of fake accounts will be prevented,” Bozdağ told reporters after the meeting he had with Kosovo Public Administration Minister Mahir Yağcılar and the Foreign Turks and Family Community Administration June 20.

Government officials have said they intend to regulate the use of social media, which they call the most important platform for coordinating and even provoking the Gezi Park demonstrations, which left three civilians and one police officer dead as well as hundreds injured.

Bozdağ said many lies and aspersions were spread via social media in that process and it has become where people express thoughts and feelings against each other, and that it has become like such a weapon.

“Aspersion is a crime no matter whether it is done through Facebook, Twitter, other websites or TV channels. The act of slander is a crime in common law no matter where it comes from. Complimenting a crime or a criminal is a crime no matter where it has been done. Making people stand up against each other with hatred, segregating people according to religion, language and classification and inciting people to commit crimes against each other is a crime in today’s laws and regulations,” he said.

“The police authorities are investigating these issues. Actions will be taken about them. Judicial investigations are being done into those who were distributing false statements from these websites, [and they] will continue to be investigated. Investigations about the ones who ravaged, destroyed and knocked things down are being done and will continue,” Bozdağ added.

Bozdağ said what they were trying to do about the regulations to social media was not banning or shutting down Twitter, Facebook and other websites.

“There is no such thing as banning, but we will lay down some rules, and we want everyone to know that there is not a freedom to commit crimes in this area and that if there are any deficiencies in our penalty system, those will be reviewed within principles of dissuasio,” he said.

June/21/2013

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