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Turkish official says government will ban 'fake' social media accounts

Turkish official says government will ban 'fake' social media accounts

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As the Turkish government continues to crack down on protestors in the streets, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has said the government will be extending its efforts online. Yesterday, Bozdag told Bloomberg and other outlets that social media, especially fake accounts, was becoming a "weapon" that needed control. "Slander is a crime under law whether it comes from Twitter, Facebook, news websites, television or from the squares," he said. "Making people stand up against each other with hatred, segregating people according to religion, language and classification and inciting people to commit crimes against each other is a crime in today's laws and regulations."

According to Turkey's Hürriyet Daily News, Bozdag said that there would be no ban on social media, "but we will lay down some rules." Specifically, he implied regulation would be aimed at stopping the creation of unverified accounts. "If someone is opening up an account, everybody should know the person who opened the account," he said. "When we look into the recent incidents, there are many fake accounts opened for someone else. They don't know this. Tweets are being sent from those accounts. ... The opening of fake accounts will be prevented."

Earlier this month, dozens of people were arrested for social media posts that the government claimed were either inciting protest or spreading misinformation. As violence mounted in early June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called social media "the biggest trouble for society right now," saying that "you can find every kind of lie" on Twitter. Outside Turkey, Twitter and other companies are struggling to balance user privacy with government requests for information, but it's not yet clear what this regulation will entail: Bozdag says the rules will be "shared with the public when the time comes."