Social networks failed to meet a deadline to register a representative and open office in Turkey.

Foreign companies operating in Turkey that reach more than 1 million people daily have been told about some of the rules they need to comply with, Deputy Transport and Infrastructure Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said. November 4, 2020.
Foreign companies operating in Turkey that reach more than 1 million people daily have been told about some of the rules they need to comply with, Deputy Transport and Infrastructure Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said. November 4, 2020. (AA)

Turkey has fined global companies, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, $1.18 million each, for failing to appoint a representative to the country as required by a new law,

The fines are the first step on an escalating scale of penalties that can end in a block on 90 percent of the site’s internet traffic bandwidth.

"Foreign companies operating in Turkey that reach more than 1 million people daily have been told about some of the rules they need to comply with," Transport and Infrastructure Deputy Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said on Wednesday.

"With the legal period ending, social network providers that did not report a representative, namely Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok, have been fined 10 million lira ($1.18 million)," he added.

Sayan also said that the fine was the first of five steps that will be used to punish platforms if they refuse to comply with the law, with a $3,5 million fine, a ban on advertisement and a 50 percent bandwidth cut following within five months.

There was some condemnation on social media that media platforms which have representatives and offices in the US and EU but do not in Turkey.

According to website data of short-form video app TikTok, which has millions of users in Turkey, it's owner ByteDance has offices in 126 offices worldwide, notably in London, New York,  Paris, Dubai, Jakarta, Tokyo.

Companies that still do not follow the law will have their bandwidth slashed by 90 percent, Sayan also said, essentially blocking access. 

If companies comply, Sayan said the restrictions will be lifted and only a quarter of the imposed fine will be collected.

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