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:
Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS. Avea and Vodafone text START to 2444. Turkcell text START to 2555.
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) March 20, 2014
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.
Google Public DNS is fast with great uptime. Use 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 as your DNS servers.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 21, 2014
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.
Twitter is blocked in Turkey. On the streets of Istanbul, the action against censorship is graffiti DNS addresses. pic.twitter.com/XcsfN7lJvS
— Utku Can (@utku) March 21, 2014
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.
At least myu story will be accurate in the morning
— Brian Jackson (@brianjjackson) October 15, 2008