Erdoğan’s youth outreach livestream gets ratioed

(Updates with statements from AKP official)

Friday’s livestream featuring young people and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the weekend’s university entrance examinations saw a flood of comments as discontent youth logged on to the livestream to dislike the video and tell the president that they would not vote for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“You forgot to turn the live chat off. I would advise you to do so,” one commenter warned before the livestream started.

Screenshot from Erdoğan's livestream: "You forgot to turn the live chat off."

The video, posted on Erdoğan’s YouTube channel, currently has more than 133,000 dislikes against some 13,000 likes, with 43,784 views., as of the writing of this article

Before the stream started, and until some thirty minutes into the stream, most commenters either expressed support for Erdoğan and AKP or demanded that the university exams be postponed.

Few commenters in between would criticize the government, posting current exchange rates for euro and dollar, and one commenter saying the daily spending of Erdoğan’s presidential palace could “feed more than 100,000 minimum wage earners.”

Around the 33 minute mark, users started to post, “Oy moy yok,” to the live chat, which roughly translates to, “No votes for you.”

Screenshot from Erdoğan's livestream: "No votes for you."

By the 39 minute mark, the president’s social media team turned off live chat.

Four hours after the stream, the video’s live chat replay has been enabled again and can currently be viewed, with the last comment displayed as “no votes for you,” up to the end.

Screenshot from Erdoğan's livestream: "No votes for you."

Video comments remain disabled.

Screenshot from Erdoğan's livestream: Video comments disabled

A mirror stream posted on the YouTube channel of Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has live chat disabled, however, several users have quipped, “No votes for you” on YouTube comments.

"No votes for you" on Anadolu Agency's stream.

“We are not so removed from reality that we would turn a blind eye to facts,” Erdoğan said, responding to a teenager’s question. “We would not have used social media so widely and effectively if we hated it. I would like to remind you that I am the most followed person on Twitter in our country, with some 16.2 million followers.”

An official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Friday declared those who opposed the Turkish president during a live chat were ‘’enemies of Turkey.‘’

The dislikes made in the chat on Friday were the work of the outlawed Gülen movement, a religious group accused of orchestrating the failed coup of July 2016, said AKP Istanbul City Council member Mücahit Birinci on Twitter.

“Do not think that the ‘dislike’ attack against our president’s YouTube post is being done by individuals,‘’ Birinci said on Twitter.“Pennsylvania-guided software and machines are at play,‘’ he added, referring to the U.S. state where Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülen movement, resides in.

Erdoğan said his government was preparing for a “strong legal infrastructure” to ensure “effective and moral use of social media for all citizens.”