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Turkey Announces Plan to Restrict ‘Fake’ Social Media Accounts

Turkey will prevent the opening of “fake” social media accounts as part of its efforts to criminalize the incitement of protests, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said today.

Hundreds of thousands of fake accounts have been opened since protests erupted on May 31, disseminating lies and slander and using social media like a “weapon” to incite hatred, Bozdag told reporters in Ankara today. “The opening of fake accounts by individuals will be prevented,” he said. “Slander is a crime under law whether it comes from Twitter, Facebook, news websites, television or from the squares.”

Bozdag ruled out any ban on social media, while warning that the government is working to regulate online activity. “Everyone should know that there is no freedom to commit crimes in this space,” he said. “If someone opens an account, everybody will know who it is.” He didn’t elaborate on how that will be achieved.

Anti-government protests have eased this week. Police cleared a protest camp out of Gezi Park in central Istanbul on June 15, and clashed with protesters in many parts of the city the following day. The demonstrations, which began in opposition to a planned redevelopment of the park, have broadened to target what participants say is the authoritarian approach of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

The Turkish hacker group Redhack yesterday claimed responsibility on Twitter for all postings related to protests over Gezi Park. Redhack has given tips to protesters to avoid being charged with “sharing provocative messages,” after police detained 29 people in the Aegean city of Izmir for online activity, Hurriyet Daily News said today.

The group has advised individuals to blame Redhack for the tweets and say their accounts were hacked, the newspaper said.

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