Turkey’s General Directorate of Security (EGM) has announced that 31 people were detained and nine of them were arrested over allegedly sharing “provocative” social media posts about the two devastating quakes that shook the southeastern region of the country.
Sosyal medya platformlarında depreme ilişkin provokatif paylaşımlarda bulunan 274 hesap yöneticisi tespit edildi. 31 şahıs gözaltına alındı, 9'u tutuklandı.— Türk Polis Teşkilatı (@EmniyetGM) February 9, 2023
Yardımsever vatandaşlarımızı suistimal etmek isteyen internet sitelerinin kapatılması sağlandı. pic.twitter.com/CLSmmsuLtf
The directorate said they identified the account users who allegedly shared provocative posts “to create fear and panic.”
Security forces detained 31 of them upon the public prosecutor's office's instruction, and nine of them have been arrested, the EGM said.
On the other hand, 24 websites were closed because they were created for phishing by using online aid campaigns. In phishing, attackers trick users into downloading malware or disclosing personal information by imitating a trusted entity.
Additionally, necessary actions were taken regarding four social media accounts that demand money from citizens by imitating the names of official institutions, the EGM said. Three crypto wallets where money is requested to be deposited using the "earthquake aid" were determined, and the wallets were frozen.
The move came after some people were detained over their social media posts criticizing the government’s response to devastating quakes.
Moreover, Twitter was restricted in Turkey for about nine hours on Feb. 8 following severe criticisms of the government’s response to the quakes. The social media app was a key communication platform for thousands of people to share information and location about their beloved ones under the rubble to help them to be rescued.
On the other hand, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the nation should only pay attention to remarks coming from the authorities and ignore people he labelled as "provocateurs.”