Turkey's new social media regulations require social media platforms with more than one million unique daily users to appoint representatives who can handle court orders to take down offending content within 48 hours.

Social media regulations in Turkey came into force in October of 2020, marking the start of a new era in the public use of social media platforms.
Social media regulations in Turkey came into force in October of 2020, marking the start of a new era in the public use of social media platforms. (Reuters)

Twitter has accepted a requirement to appoint a local representative in Turkey as part of a new social media law that took effect in October 2020, according to a top Turkish official.

“It is gratifying to see that Twitter will fulfill the obligations of the law without applying sanctions to reduce the internet traffic bandwidth,” tweeted Omer Fatih Sayan, deputy Turkish transport and infrastructure minister.

After Twitter's move, the only social media network that will have failed to appoint a representative is Pinterest, he noted.

He said representatives are important to eliminate violations of the law.

Social media giant Twitter released a statement saying they have closely reviewed Internet Law No. 5651.

"To ensure that Twitter remains available for all who use it in Turkey, we have decided to establish a legal entity," the statement added.

"We remain committed to protecting the voices and data of people in Turkey who use Twitter. We will continue to be transparent about how we handle requests from government and law enforcement."

Turkey has asked social media platforms with more than one million unique daily users to appoint local representatives who can handle court orders to take down offending content within 48 hours.

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Social media law

As part of the legislation, social media firms must respond to requests by the government in the Turkish language and must answer requests concerning personal and privacy rights within 48 hours.

Platforms should also publish semi-annual reports on their response rates to such requests.

Social networks that do not comply with court orders to remove illegal content are subject to penalties, according to the law.

In addition, the legislation also requires social media companies to take measures to store Turkey-based users’ data inside the country.

Turkey will limit the bandwidth of platforms that flout requirements by up to 90 percent and ban Turkish-based firms from running advertisements on them.

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Last year, Turkey imposed a 40 million Turkish liras ($5.43 million) fine each on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for not complying.

Facebook, VKontakte (VK), YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn and Dailymotion have since decided to assign local representatives.

In January, Turkey started to implement advertisement bans for Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest.

Social media giants that appoint local representatives after sanctions would have 75 percent of the fine and bans waived and bandwidth restored.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies