Twitter Plays Unprecedented Role in the Turkish Uprising

Nick Vivarelli

Twitter is playing an unprecedented role in Turkey’s Taksim Square protests. While social media has been crucial in recent uprisings, especially Arab Spring, it’s taken on a much bigger role in the Turkish protests, according to NYU’s Social Media & Political Participation laboratory. The study monitored at least 2 million tweets in six hours amid violent clashes between protestors and riot police May 31.

“Twitter is being used to spread information about the demonstrations from the ground,” says the study. Almost 90% of tweets are originating within Turkey, while during the Egyptian revolution, only 30% originated in the country.

The protests were sparked by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s forceful attempts to replace a central Istanbul park with a shopping mall and a high-rise complex. In an interview, Erdogan complained about “this curse called Twitter.”

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