Twitter is blocking some posts in Turkey ahead of the country’s high-stakes election Sunday, the American-based social media company announced Friday night.
The company tweeted in English and Turkish that it has “taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey” beginning Friday but added the blocked content would remain available in the rest of the world. Twitter did not specify which tweets it would block and why it would block them.
The decision once again puts Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s controversial free speech policies into the spotlight. This time, critics say, he is ceding to demands from Turkey’s right-wing leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Much of Turkey’s media is under government control, and critics accuse Ergodan of cracking down on social media companies to stifle opposition voices as he tries to stay in power.
The election is Turkey’s most closely contested in years, and polls show opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu running neck-and-neck against Erdogan, who has consolidated power over Turkey during his two decades in power.
In February, Erdogan blocked access to Twitter and other social media following the country’s devastating earthquake that killed nearly 50,000 people.
Matt Yglesias, a liberal Washington D.C. blogger, tweeted Saturday morning that “the Turkish government asked Twitter to censor its opponents right before an election and @elonmusk complied.”
Musk — who is planning to step down as CEO in the coming weeks but will continue to run much of the company as chief technology officer — responded and defended the company’s decision.
“Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias?” Musk tweeted. “The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?”