Twitter restricted in Turkey in the wake of devastating earthquakes

Real-time network data shows Twitter has been restricted in Turkey on Wednesday. The filtering is applied on major internet providers and comes as the public come to rely on the service in the aftermath of deadly earthquakes.

Network data confirm the restriction of Twitter on multiple internet providers in Turkey as of Wednesday 8 February 2023. The incident comes as authorities raise concerns over disinformation online, although no formal explanation has been provided.

Real-time NetBlocks metrics indicate that Twitter has been restricted by means of SNI filtering on major internet providers TTNet and Turkcell, and subsequently by other operators, with aggregated reachability statistics collected from an initial set of 40 vantage points. This class of disruption can be worked around using VPN services.

A series of deadly earthquakes shook southern and central Turkey on Monday, with thousands of casualties reported. The incident has also had an observable impact on internet connectivity in affected regions, although that impact is distinct from the filtering which has been implemented intentionally at the ISP level.

Turkey has an extensive history of social media restrictions during national emergencies and safety incidents. These have been implemented variously on the basis of national security, to prevent the sharing of harmful images, or to prevent the spread of alleged disinformation.