Turkey’s Twitter ‘ban’ extends to URL shortener

Turkey’s Twitter ‘ban’ extends to URL shortener

Turkey’s Twitter ‘ban’ extends to URL shortener


Turkey has extended its block of Twitter to t.co, the link shortening service of the popular social media platform, making it harder for those who successfully circumvent the ban reach the content shared elsewhere.

The Turkish government blocked access to Twitter after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to “eradicate” the social media platform on March 20. 

The government tightened the circle March 22 by blocking most DNS options,  too, in an effort to shut down the “backdoors” that many Turks were using to access Twitter.

Direct IP blocking was then introduced by Ankara, further cementing the crackdown as activity on Twitter reached to record levels in Turkey after “the ban.”

Hours after Erdoğan escalated his salvo against the “double standards” of Twitter during a massive electoral rally in Istanbul March 23, in which he also lashed at YouTube and Facebook, authorities blocked access to t.co as well.

“Twitter uses the t.co domain as part of a service to protect users from harmful activity, to provide value for the developer ecosystem, and as a quality signal for surfacing relevant, interesting Tweets,” according to the the social media platform’s statement on the website.

Links shared on Twitter are automatically shortened to a http://t.co link. Turkey now implements an IP-based blocking on t.co, which means that many users who can still reach Twitter through “backdoors” are not able to enter other websites through the platform, if they are not resorting to similar methods specifically for t.co.

In recent weeks, damaging allegations of corruption in Erdoğan’s inner circle have been spreading across social networks, especially through Twitter, where links to wiretapped phone call recordings on YouTube and other websites were shared.

The Turkish authorities have not released any statements regarding the t.co blocking. An Istanbul court had ruled earlier that the blocking of Twitter was based on “an executive decision, not a judicial verdict.”

Although not officially explained, the blocking of t.co explains why an article in The Guardian related to the issue could not be reached from Turkey, as debated by many Twitter users and journalists March 24.