Turkey Coup Attempt Captured Live on Social Media

Courtesy of Facebook
A map of Facebook Live being used in Turkey

After the attempted military coup began Friday night, people throughout Turkey took to social media amid reports that several sites had been blocked within the country.

Members of Turkey's armed forces said they had taken control of the country, but Turkish officials said the coup attempt had been repelled early Saturday morning in a night of violence that left at least 17 dead, according to state-run media.

Military units attempted to take control of the country on Friday. As explosions, gunfire and a reported air battle between loyalist forces and coup supporters erupted in the capital, people throughout Turkey began to capture the coup on social media.

Early reports suggested that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites had been blocked within the country, leading the State Department to instruct those in Turkey to use text or other means to contact loved ones in the area.

Still, people throughout Turkey continued to document the crisis as it began to unfold.

Periscope, according to several users on Twitter, appeared to be up and running.

The Facebook Live map (as of 5:30 p.m. PT) showed which areas were broadcasting most, with Turkey seeing floods of streams as the supposed coup went on. According to Facebook, the area lit up with activity as it unfolded.

From its official public policy account on Friday, Twitter said "we suspect there is an intentional slowing of our traffic in country."

Access to social media has been obstructed during previous periods of political upheaval in Turkey, though authorities have denied involvement and said technical problems were to blame.

The chaos comes after a period of political turmoil in Turkey, blamed on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule, which has included a government shake-up, a crackdown on dissidents and opposition media and renewed conflict in the mainly Kurdish areas of the southeast.

As the chaos began, Erdogan took to Twitter, calling on people to take to the streets to show support for his embattled government. In an interview with the CNN Turk station on Friday, Erdogan dismissed the military action as "an attempt at an uprising by a minority within our armed forces."

Erdogan's use of social media is surprising, given his history with the platforms.

In 2013, Erdogan specifically blamed Twitter for social unrest, calling it a "menace to society." Adding, "There is now a menace which is called Twitter. The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society."

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