Turkey Passes Law to Regulate Social Media Content

Published: July 31, 2020

The Turkish Parliament has passed a law that gives the authorities in the country greater power to regulate social media content despite concerns of censorship by the international community. This legislation requires all major social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to keep representative offices in Turkey to deal with complaints against content on their platforms.

Need for the Legislation

According to the Turkey government, it is needed to combat cybercrime in the country and also to protect the users from any kind of data breach and breach of privacy. The law would be put to practice in order to remove posts containing cyber-bullying and insults against women. However, the opposition is of the view that the law would further limit the freedom of expression in a country where media is already under government control.

Highlights of the Law

If any social media company refuses to designate an official representative for the country, fines would be prescribed against that company. Apart from that, there would be advertising bans and bandwidth reductions to that particular company. Actually, the bandwidth would be halved so that it becomes too slow to be used. The representative will be tasked with responding to individual rights to take down content violating privacy and personal rights within 48 hours or provide grounds for rejection. The company would be held liable if the content is not removed or blocked within 24 hours. The social media companies have also been asked to store data within the country only.

Background

Turkey leads the world in removal requests to social media giants such as Twitter, with more than 6000 requests in the first half of 2019. More than 408000 websites are blocked in Turkey. Even Wikipedia was blocked for three years before the top court in the country had stuck it down on the ground of violation of freedom of expression.

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