Facebook blocks pages critical of Mohammed to avoid shutdown in Turkey

The company acted to comply with an order from a Turkish court, the employee said on Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because Facebook had not authorized the employee to speak publicly. The court order was issued late Sunday at the request of a local prosecutor in Ankara, the capital.

Turkey’s Islamist government has not hesitated to temporarily cut off access to services like Twitter and YouTube for various political reasons, and it often intervenes to restrict content it finds objectionable, despite strong criticism from the West on freedom-of-speech grounds.

Like many American technology companies, Facebook, which has more than 1.2 billion users around the world, has been pushing hard for growth in emerging markets like Turkey. It tends to focus on its mobile services in such countries, because most Internet users in the developing world view content on cellphones rather than on computers.