Facebook wants to make it clear that they are not handing over user data to the Turkish government, even if some reports may suggests otherwise. Not only that but Facebook says that they intend to “communicate strong concerns” to Turkish officials when they meet in Silicon Valley this week over what they believe are unwarranted requests for user data.
Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Binali Yildirim had recently stated that Facebook had been cooperating with their government – unlike another social media outlet, Twitter.
“Facebook has been working in coordination with the Turkish authorities for a long time. They have a unit in Turkey. We don’t have any problem with them. Twitter could also establish a similar structure. Otherwise, this is not sustainable,” he said.
Facebook apparently felt the need to address these allegations, doing so on their newish “fact check” site:
Facebook has not provided user data to Turkish authorities in response to government requests relating to the protests. More generally, we reject all government data requests from Turkish authorities and push them to formal legal channels unless it appears that there is an immediate threat to life or a child, which has been the case in only a small fraction of the requests we have received.
We are concerned about legislative proposals that might purport to require Internet companies to provide user information to Turkish law enforcement authorities more frequently. We will be meeting with representatives of the Turkish government when they visit Silicon Valley this week, and we intend to communicate our strong concerns about these proposals directly at that time.
Like we’ve seen in other global movements, social media has played a key part in spreading the word and has been the main tool for protesters in a climate where press freedom can often be limited. Social media use was demonized by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who called Twitter a “menace” and said that social media is the “worst menace to society.”
The recent protests in Turkey were born out of dissatisfaction over a particularly rough eviction of a sit-in protest in Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul. From there, the situation snowballed and protesters took the streets for a variety of causes, violations of basic freedoms of the press and of assembly.