Twitter And National Security

Twitter was making headlines recently, after the social media platform was shut down by concerned government officials in Turkey. Predicting agitation during unstable times, the government blocked “provocative tweets against Turkey’s national security,” being fearful that certain messages on the internet could incite armed conflict within their borders. Since that time, the Turkish government has reached an agreement with the owners of Twitter, which has resumed its normal function in that country. Whether or not the shutdown was truly justified depends on who you speak to. But one part of this story is certain-the power of social media. In unstable times, platforms like twitter, with the ability to reach millions in such a short time, can potentially serve as a signal for those who would do harm and incite panic. Or, it could be used to pass helpful, lifesaving information. During times of emergency, these tools need to be used carefully and responsibly, to help diffuse situations, not pour gasoline on them.