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Twitter users protest after Turkey allegedly blocks service

Twitter users protest after Turkey allegedly blocks service
Twitter is suffering from an outage in Turkey after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to "wipe out" the service. Above, a protestor in Istanbul looks at his cellphone screen. (Bulent Kilic / AFP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter said it is looking into reports that its service has been blocked in Turkey.

The company published a message on its service Thursday telling users in Turkey that they could send Tweets using mobile phone text messaging.

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Twitter's @policy account told Turkish users in both English and Turkish that they could tweet using short message service or ''SMS.'' Users in Turkey, who number 12 million, have been using various methods to get around the reported ban.

A person familiar with the situation but not authorized to discuss it publicly said Twitter has seen a "significant decrease" in traffic from Turkey.

The apparent ban came hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to ''wipe out'' the social media network ahead of local elections this month.

Users in Turkey trying to access the service on the Web were instead shown a notice from Turkey's telecommunications authority.

Links to leaked recordings that purported to incriminate Erdogan were posted on Twitter. He said the recordings were fabricated.

With widespread disruptions to Twitter in Turkey, users are protesting on Twitter with the hashtags "#TwitterisblockedinTurkey," "#DictatorErdogan" and "TurkeyBlockedTwitter" surging to the service's top worldwide trends.

Despite the apparent crackdown on Twitter, the majority of #TwitterisblockedinTurkey tweets are coming from Turkey, according to Topsy.

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