Oremus: Twitter 'the worst menace'

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

By Will Oremus


Protests engulf Turkey's Taksim Square, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan knows exactly what's to blame: Twitter.

Erdogan dismissed the protesters as "looters" and "bums" and blasted the country's opposition party for provoking them. But he reserved his fiercest words for the microblogging site, which has become a hub for activists and a major news source as Turkey's mainstream media have downplayed the unrest.

Reporters differ in their translation of Erdogan's exact words, but he called Twitter a "curse," a "menace," a "scourge," or some combination thereof.

For good measure, he followed up by unloading on social media at large. Here's the New York Times' rendering of his full quote:

Now we have a menace that is called Twitter. The best example of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.

The worst! Worse than poverty, climate change, crime, or even the opposition party.

His views aside, the prime minister appears to have no plans to combat this menace/curse/scourge despite scattered reports of Internet outages, the tweets continue to roll in, along with the Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and Vine videos.

Oh, and Foursquare check-ins. As I write, some 2,530 people are checked in to Taksim Gezi Park, leading Foursquare to conclude that the park is "busier than usual."