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Turkish president loses Twitter followers

Wednesday - 2/19/2014, 7:30pm  ET

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Media reports say close to 80,000 people have stopped following Turkey's president on Twitter after he signed a controversial bill increasing government controls over the Internet into law.

Abdullah Gul, who has more than 4 million followers on Twitter, announced in a tweet late Tuesday that he had ratified the legislation following government assurances that two disputed articles on Internet controls would be amended.

The move sparked a campaign for people to stop following Gul on Twitter and Hurriyet newspaper said Wednesday that the Turkish president lost some 78,000 followers overnight.

The legislation allows Turkish authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision. It also forces Internet providers to make users activities available to authorities.

The EU had called the legislation "a step back" for media freedom.


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