Turkish communication authority’s WhatsApp survey provokes fears of coming ban
Hacer Boyacıoğlu - ANKARAA new survey about the texting mobile application WhatsApp prepared by Turkey’s communications authority has stirred a debate amid rumors that the service could be blocked.
The debate was ignited after the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) conducted an online survey, asking what service people would use if WhatsApp did not exist, offering Bip, Viber, Wechat and Line as alternatives.
The question precipitated a storm of speculation that WhatsApp was next in line for blocking after Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia, was banned on April 29.
However, BTK officials denied the claims, saying no applications would be blocked after a survey.
“This survey was just conducted to measure people’s usage habits. The blocking of applications by a survey or any similar practice is out of the question. But this survey reveals that our people are very conscious over social media,” the BTK said.
Officials also remarked that the holding of the WhatsApp survey after the blocking of Wikipedia was “unfortunate.”
“WhatsApp is not a website or a platform like Twitter whose posts can be seen by social media users simultaneously. People missed the detail when they were commenting. It was just an ordinary survey,” the BTK said.
Wikipedia applied to the Turkish Constitutional Court on May 9 after its appeal against a ruling to block access to the website in Turkey was rejected by a local court.
The BTK stated on April 29 that it had blocked access to Wikipedia based on a law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.
The Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace later ordered the ban after Wikipedia’s administration refused to remove two of the site’s 40 million pages alleging that Ankara channeled support to jihadists in Syria.
The application to the Constitutional Court comes four days after the same court rejected an appeal by the Wikimedia Foundation against the decision.