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Turkey orders Facebook to block pages depicting or criticizing Muhammad

By Nathaniel Mott , written on January 26, 2015

From The News Desk

Facebook has been ordered to block pages depicting the Prophet Muhammad, including those featuring the cover of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo's latest issue, with a warning that its service could be banned from Turkey if it doesn't enforce the blockade.

The ban comes after protests against the Charlie Hebdo cover in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir became violent. (The cover, released after an attack on the magazine, shows Muhammad holding a sign reading "Je Suis Charlie.")

This isn't the first time Turkey has censored the controversial cover. It also forced news portals not to display the image on their websites, and stopped trucks carrying issues of a secular newspaper within the country to make sure it hadn't reprinted the cover.

Nor is it the first time the country has attacked social networking sites to staunch the flow of information. It previously banned YouTube ahead of its elections and threatened Twitter for hosting documents about a military police raid on intelligence agency trucks.

Facebook's report on government censorship requests also shows that Turkey is among the countries most likely to ask the company to block access to certain content. Turkey is no stranger to requesting and receiving blockades against content it wants stifled.

Nor is Facebook a stranger to preventing things from appearing on its service, either at the request of various governments or because of its own content policies. It's not clear if the company will also comply with this order or push back against Turkey's demands.