Turkey Fines Social Media Platforms Over Non-Compliance

On Wednesday, Turkey fined Facebook, Twitter and three other social media platforms for failing to nominate a  representative of a country under a controversial law that came into force last month. The law, passed in July, allows websites with over one million users to nominate officials in Turkey capable of implementing court orders to delete or face heavy fines for controversial content.

Turkey Fines Social Media Platforms Over Non-Compliance

Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Omer Fatih Sayan tweeted that Turkey ordered Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok to pay a fine of 10 million lira ($1.2 million, EUR 1.0 million) for non-compliance.

If the networks fail to open local offices by early December, a fine of an additional 30 million lira will be levied. Failure to comply would lead to an advertisement ban by early January. Three months after the advertisement ban, if the social media firms still disregard Turkish regulation, they would see bandwidth decreases of 50 percent in the fifth and final stage and then by as much as 90 percent. Yaman Akdeniz, a digital rights expert, said any reduction in bandwidth would begin in April and hit 90 percent by May, rendering the platforms effectively unavailable.

With nearly 17 million followers and a very active profile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the most influential leaders on social media. But under his government, Turks, especially those accused of insulting the president, have faced growing prosecution over their social media posts.

After Erdogan’s indignation over online insults by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and his wife Esra, the President’s daughter, following the birth of their fourth child in June, the new law was adopted. Turks are accustomed to restricted access to websites and material, and over the past few years, Turkish courts have sent hundreds of petitions to Twitter for content withdrawal.

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