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Iran Press TV

Turkey's parliament approves law regulating social media

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 29 July 2020 8:43 AM

The Turkish parliament has passed a law that imposes new requirements on social media companies with more than 1 million daily users and orders their local representatives to address government concerns over content.

The bill was ratified on Wednesday as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supported it during parliamentary debates, which had begun a day earlier.

Under the new legislation, social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter would have to ensure they have representatives in Turkey. If the representative is a real entity, not a legal one, it has to be a Turkish citizen.

They would also have 48 hours to comply with Turkish court orders for the removal of certain offensive content or face heavy fines, the blocking of their advertisements or have bandwidth slashed by up to 90 percent.

The new law further asks social networks to store users' data within the country.

Administrative fines for the providers that fail to meet obligations would be raised from the current 10,000 -100,000 Turkish lira ($1,500 - $15,000) to 1-10 million lira ($146,165 - $1,461,650).

Speaking before the bill's passage, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the draft law "would give the state powerful tools for asserting even more control over the media landscape."

Turkish government officials, however, underline the need for a measure regulating social media, citing technology companies' failure to take action against criminal activity such as sexual abuse, illegal gambling, fraud and support for terrorism.

Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin rejected speculations that the new legislation would lead to censorship and emphasized that it aims to establish commercial and legal ties with the social media platforms.

Meanwhile, Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan's director of communications, said social media giants should not be able to "uncontrollably make profits in our country and continue their operations immune to any tax obligations."

The Turkish president has repeatedly complained that "immoral acts" online in recent years stem from lack of regulations.

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