As Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim had announced some weeks ago that Twitter did not respond positively to a “cooperation” agreement to determine and spot those who get involved in criminal activities through expressing their views online. This statement’s rhetoric would make any reader feel that Facebook is cooperating with the Turkish government, and it was Twitter that was declared a menace to society by Prime Minister Erdogan. The flow of information and spread-pace of news nationally as well as internationally must have been felt deeply that initially it was the Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas who requested the Gezi Park protesters to tweet in English saying “everything is fine in Istanbul and life is back to normal”.
Not long after this “request” came threats that rumours that opposition pages would be closed down on Facebook as soon as possible but definitely the elections; mainly the ones that reflected citizen-journalism, leftist, Kurdish, Alevi religious or LGBT pages. Although one might not want to believe in this possibility, apparently it was true that dozens of pages that reflect an alternative to government’s rhetoric on the internet have been closed down for no valid reason (some of the news sources’ closing down reason was stated that they share pornographic content).
In order to protest this process of silencing down opposition voices on Facebook, many users have been involved in a series of digital protests mainly involving twitter hashtags, penguin spamming (of Facebook’s official page), ad boycotting, and lastly a 24 hour account deactivation boycott on 21st of July. Even after these Facebook does not seem to have heard the voice of Turkish opposition and repeatedly closes down reserve pages of the same titles (which used to have hundreds of thousands of followers), this time not even giving a reason.
The cyber-army of government-leaning hackers have been terrorizing the social media platforms through use of excessive number of fake accounts, organizing spam-attacks and filing complaint reports about opposition pages stating that they are promoting sexual content. As Facebook has been avoiding any involvement in fighting hate speech and instigation to violence on hate groups, it actually now contributes to the ongoing digitocide happening in cyber-lands of Gezi Park.
Among the pages that have been closed down are Ötekilerin Postasi (the biggest citizen journalism platform in Turkey that has broken the news of many big events that mainstream media shunned from covering), DurDe (an unofficial NGO that aims to prevent hate speech and hate crimes), BDP (one of the parliamentary parties, representing mainly the Kurdish population in the country), Carsi (football fans of mainly Besiktas). All these groups and pages in total welcomed millions of users who do not give up and continue to “like” the new pages.