Trolls, Pressure and Agenda: The discursive fight on Twitter in Turkey

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

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Trolls, Pressure and Agenda: The discursive fight on Twitter in Turkey


  • Uğur Baloğlu Faculty of Applied Science, Istanbul Gelisim University, Turkey


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Abstract:  Censorship, banning, and imprisonment are different methods used to suppress dissenting voices in traditional media and have now evolved into a new form with bot and troll accounts in the digital media age in Turkey. Is it possible to construct a bloc with counter-trolls against the escalating political pressure on the media in the post-truth era? Are counter-trolls capable of setting the agenda? This article discusses the possibility of constructing a bloc against the escalating political pressure in Turkey on the media through counter-trolls in the context of communicative rationality. First, it observes the ruling party’s troll politics strategy on Twitter, then examines the counter-discourses against political pressure today; thereafter it analyzes the discourse in hashtags on the agenda of the Boğaziçi University protests. Firstly, 18,000 tweets are examined to understand the suppress-communication strategy of the AK Party trolls. Secondly, the agenda-setting capacity of counter-trolls is observed between January 1, 2020, and February 5, 2021, and 18,000 tweets regarding Boğaziçi protests are examined to analyze the communication strategy of the counter-trolls. The study shows that the populist government instrumentalizes communication in social media, and Twitter does not have enough potential for the Gramscian counter-hegemony, but the organized actions and discourses have the potential to create public opinion.

Keywords:  agenda; civil society; communication strategy; counter‐trolls; populism; trolls; troll politics

Published:   21 October 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i4.4213


© Uğur Baloğlu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.