Twitter and Facebook got support from two Turkish academics who on Tuesday decided to challenge a ban on the social networking sites in the country, alleging that the ban reflects Ankara’s growing authoritarianism, says a report from Reuters. Twitter and YouTube were blocked in Turkey for some hours this week following a court order that gave authorities the permission to do so.

Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc Ban Challenged By Turkish Academics

Bans defy very purpose of social media

On Monday,a Turkish court ordered the images in which a prosecutor was held at a gunpoint by far-left militants to be taken off the internet, following which both Twitter and video sharing service YouTube were inaccessible for hours.

Kerem Altiparmak, a law professor at Ankara University, and Yaman Akdeniz, a legal academic, have filed an appeal against the ban. “It does not matter that the ban is lifted now. We think it is against the law and are appealing,” said Altiparmak. He further said that if needed, he will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights as well.

Altiparmak disagrees with the idea of social media companies removing the content due to a court order. According to Altiparmak, such practices are a threat to free speech and defeat the very purpose of social media sites.

Twitter, Facebook to appeal the ban

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the founder of the AK Party, has adopted a stern attitude towards social media in the country. Last year, a scandal broke in the country, following which the party decided to ban the two sites so that leaked recordings did not circulate much as both networks enjoy vast reach and high popularity in the country. Additionally, certain legislation has been introduced by the government with an objective to impose a ban more easily and without much hassle.

The ban imposed by the government was avoided by Facebook, which said the orders of the court had been obeyed by it, says the report. An appeal against the court order will be launched by both Twitter and Facebook through their representatives.

Going by the data provided by the micro-blogging site, the maximum numbers of content removal requests were received from Turkey in the second half of 2014. Requests from Turkey were five times higher than from any other nation.