Turkey imposes $ 1.2 million fine on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok over new law
Turkey on Wednesday fined Facebook, Twitter and three other social media companies for failing to name a representative for the country under a controversial law that took effect last month.
The legislation, passed in July, requires platforms with more than one million users to appoint representatives in Turkey who could implement court orders to remove contentious content or face heavy fines.
Turkey has ordered Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, Youtube and Tik Tok pay fines of TRY 10 million (approximately Rs 9 million) for failing to comply, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Omer Fatih Sayan tweeted.
If the networks do not open local offices in early December, they will be fined an additional 30 million lira.
Failure to comply in early January would result in an advertising ban.
If social media companies still ignore Turkish law three months after the ad ban, they will see bandwidth reductions of 50 percent and then as much as 90 percent in the fifth and final stage.
Digital rights expert Yaman Akdeniz said any bandwidth reduction would start in April and hit 90 percent in May, rendering the platforms effectively inaccessible.
Akdeniz tweeted on Tuesday that only the Russian private social media firm VK had appointed a Turkish representative to date.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the most popular leaders on social media with almost 17 million followers and a very active presence.
But under his rule, Turks have faced growing prosecution for their social media posts, especially those accused of insulting the president.
Erdogan does not hide his disdain for social media, which he threatened to “erase” in 2014.
The new law was adopted after Erdogan’s ire at the online insults of Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and his wife Esra, the president’s daughter, following the birth of their fourth child in June.
Turks are used to limited access to websites and content, and Turkish courts have sent hundreds of content removal requests to Twitter in recent years.