Tag Archives: social media

Banning Social Media to Prevent Islamization

The Turkish government today announced a series of restrictions on social media, blocking access to Twitter and other social media websites in an effort to prevent the spread of images from the circulation of images from the Suruc bomb attack. Critics argue it’s a broader effort to prevent mobilization of anti-government protests by Kurds dissatisfied with the government’s approach to the crisis in Syria.

Yesterday a massive suicide bomb attack targeted a protest organized by youth activists in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. At least 32 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the bombing, believed to be the work of Islamic State militants. Located along Turkey’s southern border with Syria, the town had seen a massive influx of Kurdish refugees fleeing fighting in Syria. The protestors, mostly members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations, had been planning a relief trip to the Syrian town of Kobane and were angry at the Turkish government for not doing more to combat the Islamic State and support Kurdish fighters in Syria.

What do you think? Is the Turkish government right to block access to social media to prevent the publication of images from the bombing in Suruc. Or is it merely trying to stifle anti-government protests?

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Social Media and the New Frontiers of War

According to a press conference statement by US Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, a selfie posted to a social media sight by an ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) fighter led to a successful US airstrike against an ISIS command-and-control facility in Syria. The airstrike follows the announcement that between 10 and 13,000 ISIS fighters have been killed since US operations began, but that the overall strength of ISIS remained unaffected due to successful recruitment of new fighters by the organization.

ISIS has made effective use of social media to recruit new fighters, reaching a following of more than 200,000 through Twitter and other social media sites. But as the story suggests, the organization’s use of social media represents a double-edged sword, as it provides its opponents with intelligence regarding the organization’s operations and status.

What do you think? How has the use of social media affected the conduct of war in the 21st century? How will future conflicts (military, economic, or otherwise), look different as a result of social connectivity? How does the recent report of Chinese hacking into US federal employee databases fit into this context? And how should governments adapt to the new landscape?

Banning Twitter in Turkey

The government of Turkey yesterday announced it would “eradicate Twitter,” prompting a sharp protests in social media.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a troubled history with social media, which has been sharply critical of his leadership. Critics of the government have used social media to mobilize protests and distribute information charging the government with corruption. Prime Minister Erdogan asserted that “We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.” But Google and Twitter quickly announced ways around the block, and the number of posts from Turkey actually increased following the announcement.

What do you think? Will Turkey be successful in its efforts to control the internet? Or does the decentered nature of the internet undermine Turkey’s ability to control it? And what might this suggest for the future of social media and its relationship to governments and politics around the world?