Facebook has chosen to comply with a Turkish court’s order to block webpages containing content offensive to Islam, according to several reports.
A Facebook employee told the New York Times that the company agreed to shutdown a number of pages with offensive content within 24 hours of the request, which threatened to ban the site from the country otherwise. Al Jazeera reports that Facebook called the court’s demand a “valid legal request.” It’s certainly not an empty one: Turkey has blocked access to both Twitter and YouTube over the past few years when they’ve refused to comply with government requests.
Both Turkey and Facebook were singing a different tune earlier this month: Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, was one of many world leaders who attended a march in Paris show support for the French and people and the murdered staffers of Charlie Hebdo, which had been notorious for publishing content satirizing Islam.
Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg also voiced his support for the magazine with his own Facebook post, in which he called his company “a place where people across the world share their views and ideas,” ending the note “#JeSuisCharlie.”
Turkey has had a terrible record on free speech under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, especially with regard to Islam. Just after the march in Paris, the government threatened action against any publication or website that printed the Charlie Hebdo images, and at least one paper is under investigation for having printed them. Turkey has also had more journalists in prison than any other country in the world in recent years.