A court in Turkey has ordered Facebook to block Pages deemed offensive for their depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Golbasi Duty Magistrate Court passed the order on Sunday, stating that the social network would be blocked in Turkey if it failed to remove the specific Pages in question, reports Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s official press agency.
In the days that followed the horrific terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed not to bow to extremists’ demands to censor Facebook. But when such demands are made from the highest official echelons, Facebook does find itself in a tricky situation.
Facebook has previously been banned in Pakistan for refusing to remove offensive pictures pertaining to the Prophet Muhammad, but the social network did subsequently bow to pressure and blocked the images in Pakistan. Twitter, too, has been banned in Pakistan over “blasphemous” Muhammad drawings.
Earlier this year, Turkish President Abdullah Gul ruled out a ban on Facebook and other social media sites after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan hinted that the websites of social networks could be shut down following anonymous postings of audio recordings that reportedly exposed corruption within the government.
“Closure [of the social media sites] is out of the question,” said Gul the time. “We are always proud of the reforms we have made regarding the broadening of freedoms.”
But it seems that offensive material related to the Prophet Muhammad is a step too far, and Facebook will have to agree to block certain Pages or face a complete countrywide ban.