Why Turkey's Twitter Ban Isn't Working

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he's blocked access to Twitter, but users soon found ways to circumvent the ban.
Posted at 3:02 PM, Mar 22, 2014

Turkey may have banned Twitter, but that hasn't stopped the tweeting. 

Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his country had blocked access to Twitter for the country's 12 million users. (Via Euronews

But his plan backfired. Soon after Twitter went dark, users figured out they could still tweet through texting, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or by changing their DNS settings. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Nevi Dilmen

Twitter itself instructed users on how to work around the ban, local newspapers printed guides and activists got creative. (Via Twitter / @policy, Radikal

“People have been putting these instructions in Turkey and you can see DNS being graffitied there.” (Via Al Jazeera

It wasn't long before #TwitterIsBlockedInTurkeywas trending worldwide and users were flooding the site to mock Erdogan. (Via Twitter / @MelisCapulienneTwitter / @serdaroncode, Twitter / @DikenComTr

Ironically, tweets in the country are now up 138 percent, according to Business Insider.

Even Turkey’s president is bypassing the ban. (Via Twitter / @cbabdullahgul)

As for the prime minister, his beef with social media is well-documented. During last summer's anti-government protests, Erdogan was quoted saying "social media is currently the worst menace to society." (Via ITN

While it's not entirely clear why Erodogan chose now to block the site, it may have something to do with the leaked recordings surfaced on Twitter which seemed to implicate him in a corruption scandal. (Via YouTube / Caferağa Dayanışması)

But given how easy it's been for tech-savvy Turks to circumvent the ban, did Erdogan truly think blocking Twitter would work? 

An assistant professor at the University of North Carolina's School of Information and Library Science told NBC the ban was always more of a political statement than anything: "I somewhat joke about the ineffectiveness of the ban, but as a legal precedent and political move, it’s very scary." (Via NBC)

Turkey joins China and Iran as the only countries to ban the site. Erdogan has also vowed to ban Facebook and YouTube.