Tur­key probes 10,000 so­cial me­dia users

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

ANKARA: Turkish au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing some 10,000 peo­ple on sus­pi­cion of us­ing so­cial me­dia to sup­port ter­ror­ism, the in­te­rior min­istry said yes­ter­day, part of a wide crack­down that has alarmed rights groups and some Western al­lies. Tur­key, which faces se­cu­rity threats from Kur­dish and left­ist mil­i­tants and Is­lamic State, has sacked or sus­pended more than 100,000 peo­ple fol­low­ing an at­tempted mil­i­tary coup in July. It says the mea­sures are nec­es­sary to root out sup­port­ers of the putsch and other ter­ror­ists.

Rights groups and some Euro­pean coun­tries have said Pres­i­dent Tayyip is us­ing the cur­rent state of emer­gency to quash dissent. Since the coup, more than 150 me­dia out­lets have been shut down and 140 jour­nal­ists ar­rested. The in­te­rior min­istry said yes­ter­day the fight against ter­ror­ism was be­ing car­ried out “with de­ter­mi­na­tion” in so­cial me­dia. In the last six months, au­thor­i­ties have de­tained 3,710 peo­ple for ques­tion­ing, the min­istry said. Of those, 1,656 have been for­mally ar­rested and 84 are still be­ing ques­tioned.

The re­main­ing 1,970 have been re­leased, although 1,203 of those are still be­ing mon­i­tored, it said. Ac­cess to so­cial me­dia sites such as Twit­ter and Face­book is com­monly blocked, par­tic­u­larly af­ter bomb­ings or other deadly at­tacks, in­ter­net mon­i­tor­ing groups have said. Tur­key de­nies that it blocks the in­ter­net, and has pre­vi­ously blamed out­ages on spikes in us­age af­ter ma­jor events.

Tech­ni­cal ex­perts at watch­dog groups say the black­outs on so­cial me­dia are in­ten­tional, aimed in part at stop­ping the spread of mil­i­tant images and pro­pa­ganda. —Reuters

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