Turkey has banned social media sites like Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest from advertising as they failed to hire local representatives following the new media law, the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) reported on Tuesday.
The new social media law came into effect last October and mandates social media sites in Turkey to hire a local representative. The law emphasized that companies which fail to appoint such representatives are accountable to penalties and other moves.
Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) has fined the social media platforms with 40 million Turkish liras ($5.43 million) along with advertisement bans. AA reported that the country will limit bandwidth by 50% in April and up to 90% in May as its next move.
Under the new law, authorities can access and remove content from platforms. This has increased concerns about whether the law may facilitate arbitrary censorship. Meanwhile, the official statement noted that if the social media firms appoint local representatives, 75% of the fine will be waived and the bandwidth reduction will end. Until then, Turkish advertisements are restricted on Pinterest, Twitter and Periscope.
As part of its regulations, the platforms are liable to retort requests by the Turkish government in the Turkish language, convene to personal and privacy requirements within 48 hours and publish semi-annual reports on their response rates to such requests, AA states.
"We are determined to do whatever is necessary to protect the data, privacy and rights of our nation," Deputy Transport Minister Omer Fatih Sayan tweeted. "We will never allow digital fascism and disregard of rules to prevail in Turkey." He also stated that the advertisement ban will be controlled by Turkish authorities such as BHK, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, Central Bank and Tax Inspection Board.
Popular social media firms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, VK, DailyMotion have approved to appoint local representatives. Though Facebook complied to it after being fined with $5.3 million by Turkish authorities, it stated that it will not adhere to pressure.
"This decision does not change Facebook's Community Standards, nor the global process for reviewing government requests, and we will withdraw the representative if we face pressure on either," the social media giant said in a statement.