Twitter fights ban in Turkey on its 8th birthday

As Twitter celebrates its eighth anniversary, it’s also busy fighting efforts to censor the social media service in Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan banned Twitter yesterday in the wake of a corruption scandal, cutting off the service just after midnight, according to Reuters. A Turkish newspaper quoted him as saying he’d gotten a court order for the censorship followed by this dramatic statement: “We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”

But San Francisco-based Twitter isn’t tolerating the ban. It’s hired a lawyer to meet with Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority in Ankara. The lawyer, Gönenç Gürkaynak, previously worked on a legal case against the ban of Youtube.

Meanwhile, Twitter is sharing ways that Turkish residents can circumvent the ban. Its official policy account pointed out sending tweets via text message is still an option on several of Turkey’s wireless carriers:

Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, also contributed to workarounds to access Twitter. His recommendation involves changing a computer’s DNS server addresses to use Google’s Public DNS instead of one provided by a Turkish ISP that’s affected by the ban.

Another alternative DNS to use is OpenDNS, which also offers detailed instructions on how to change DNS settings for many operating systems. Using a VPN connection based outside of Turkey is another way to avoid the Twitter ban.

Proof that many Turkish citizens are finding ways around the censorship is evident on the social network. The Guardian reported that about 17,000 tweets per minute were being posted from the country this morning. Even Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul came out publicly against Erdogan, tweeting that it wasn’t right to impose a ban on social media platforms.

On the streets of Turkey, graffiti messages spread the word on how to use Google’s Public DNS.

Lighter Twitter anniversary activities

The ban in Turkey is overshadowing a lighter activity the social network is encouraging to mark its eighth birthday – reflecting back on your first tweet. The longer you’ve been on Twitter, the more difficult it is to actually go all the way back in your timeline to retrieve your first post (although downloading your entire archive will do the trick), but Twitter has made it easy with this tool.

It’s also put together a great list of first tweets from some more notable Twitter users.

Here’s mine:

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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