Turkish survey on WhatsApp raises concerns of possible ban after Wikipedia

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A survey by the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK) on what other applications people might use if mobile application WhatsApp were not available has raised concerns among users of a possible ban after Turkey recently prohibited access to famous online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

In a survey in a tweet from its official account on May 8, BTK asked followers in Twitter what service people would use if WhatsApp did not exist, offering Bip, Viber, Wechat and Line as alternatives.

After the BTK survey caused a storm of speculation in social media whether WhatsApp was next in line for blocking after Wikipedia, an official whose name was not disclosed told the Hürriyet daily on Wednesday that no applications would be blocked following the survey.

“This survey was just conducted to measure people’s usage habits. The blocking of applications by a survey or any similar practice is out of the question. But this survey reveals that our people are very conscious about social media,” the BTK official said.

On April 29, the BTK announced that it had blocked access to Wikipedia based on a law allowing it to prohibit access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.

Following the BTK decision, the Ankara 1st Penal Court of Peace ordered a ban after Wikipedia’s administration refused to remove two of the site’s over 40 million pages alleging that Ankara channeled support to jihadists in Syria.

Wikipedia applied to the Turkish Constitutional Court on May 9 after its appeal against the ruling to block access to the website in Turkey was rejected by a local court.

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