Brands cautious on Turkey's Twitter ban

24 March 2014

ISTANBUL: Twitter is reported to be taking legal advice to challenge the ban imposed on the social networking site by the Turkish government, with major brands deciding to refrain from using the service while the dispute remains unresolved.

Access to the site was blocked shortly after prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a rally of supporters: "We'll eradicate Twitter. I don't care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic."

Hürriyet quoted a later clarification from the Prime Minister's office which said Twitter had ignored court rulings to remove some links and as long as that situation continued the only remedy was "to block access in order to relieve our citizens".

Before the ban Twitter posted a tweet advising how users could continue to tweet in the country via SMS. Campaign reported that only one of Turkey's top 10 most-followed brands on Twitter, the Ticketmaster-owned Biletix, was still tweeting as usual, along with other local brands, including Doğus tea and Beymen fashion.

Major brands, however, including Turkish Airlines, Vodafone, Samsung and Audi, were silent.

The row comes as Twitter celebrated its eighth birthday by helping users discover their first tweets and it was reported to be looking at making some major changes to the site's operation.

Vivian Schiller, head of news at Twitter, told a US conference: "We are working on moving the scaffolding of Twitter into the background".

When asked if that meant @ replies and hashtags were being phased out, she gave a non-committal reply: "There's a lot of creative thinking going on around how to make Twitter more and more intuitive. Watch this space."

Data sourced from Hürriyet, Campaign, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff