Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Twitterization of the Gezi Park protests

Here is an excerpt of my latest in Today's Zaman (4 July 2013)

During the first night of conflict, numerous forms of false information were spread over Twitter waves; however, it is necessary to clarify that there is a difference between misinformation and unknowingly spreading false information. I myself unintentionally tweeted (or retweeted) information I had thought was true, such as the story of the death of a girl named Aylin, who was supposedly crushed under an armored vehicle and whose death was even confirmed by an opposition deputy on Halk television (a station different from its mainstream counterparts that hit the streets to cover the events from the start).

Even if I stated that the case of Aylin had been “reported,” such tweets carry weight, and concerning this tweet and others, I reiterated that Twitter can only work properly together with a free, vibrant and transparent media. While the Turkish main media ignored the events, people on the ground had a duty to report, and likewise to announce immediately when making mistakes. Also, there was the need for everyone to work their utmost at filtering exaggerated reports, or misinformation, such as the claim that massacres were taking place; say what you want, but excessive police force is a far cry from being a massacre. In any case, it seems evident that once the Turkish media stepped up its efforts to cover the events, tweets became all the more reliable.

To continue reading, here is the link

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