Twitter agrees to withhold controversial tweets in Turkey as it seeks to end ban

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Twitter plans to temporarily hide controversial tweets in Turkey to help get its site back up and running in the country, the company announced today.

The Turkish government enacted the ban last week after citizens and others spoke out against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This criticism led Erdogan to convince the government to block access to Twitter, conveniently before a countrywide election to determine new government officials.

From Twitter:

“While we contest the order, we are using our Country Withheld Content tool on the account in question, the first time we’ve used it in Turkey, as well as on several Tweets based on the public prosecutor’s request regarding the safety of an individual. The tool allows content to be withheld in a specific jurisdiction while remaining visible to the rest of the world. We have already provided notice of this action to the affected users, and are posting all information we’re legally able to disclose about the withholdings to Chilling Effects.”

Twitter also emphasized that at no point did the company ever turn over that controversial user data to the Turkish government — nor does it plan to.

A Turkish court recently ruled that the Twitter ban was out of bounds and ordered the government to lift the block on the service. Access is expected to be restored later today. That ruling can be overturned, however.

This isn’t the first time the Turkish government has taken issue with a major social networking service. Earlier this month, both YouTube and Facebook were also at risk of being blocked in the country.

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