21 Mar 2014

Turks Use Google to Fight Twitter Ban

By Aaron Souppouris at The Verge

Turkish citizens have found a way to circumvent yesterday's reported block of Twitter: Google DNS.

After being implicated in a corruption scandal through recordings leaked via YouTube and other media sharing sites, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Erdoğan, has gone to great lengths to stem their spread online. Erdoğan vehemently denies the authenticity of the recordings, which purportedly reveal him telling his son to dispose of large sums of cash, and has alleged they are the work of Turkish cleric and political rival Fethullah Gulen. In the lead-up to local elections on March 30th, Erdoğan has stepped up his attempts to stop the recordings being spread with a nationwide ban of Twitter. However, it appears that, rather than the more complex system used to bar access to sites by countries like China, Turkey's Twitter ban was made possible by a simple DNS block, and citizens haven't taken long to circumvent it.


Everyone browsing the web uses DNS. It's a system that routes the domain name you type into your browser to the IP address of that site. Google provides a free DNS service that's open to all, and with knowledge of this some Turkish citizens have begun to spread the word that using Google DNS will avoid the Twitter ban. Graffiti has shown up bearing the Google DNS "," and Twitter users have shared images showing the address with the hashtag #DirenTwitter. In addition, Oğuz Özgül, a supervisor at a web agency in Turkey, tells The Verge that "major media channels" have parroted the workaround, and many Facebook users have posted how-tos helping others to set up an alternative DNS.

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