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Twitter blinks in Turkey, will comply by appointing local representatives

The new social media laws require all platforms to appoint a local representative in the country. It was passed in parliament by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party last year and went into effect from October 2020.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | March 22, 2021 | Updated 14:04 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Twitter has complied with Turkey’s social media laws that require all platforms with more than one million unique daily users.
  • Except for Pinterest, all major social media platforms including Facebook, Vkontakte (VK), YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Dailymotion have also complied with the new laws.
  • Earlier this year, the Indian government asked Twitter to ban over 1000 Twitter accounts to which Twitter complied partially facing flak from the former.

Twitter has complied with Turkey's social media laws that require all platforms with more than one million unique daily users to appoint a local representative in the country. These representatives will have the authority to handle court orders to take down offending content within 48 hours. The law was passed in parliament by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party last year and went into effect from October 2020. Social media platforms are required to appoint


Ömer Fatih Sayan, deputy Turkish transport and infrastructure minister noted that after Twitter's move all social media companies have accepted to appoint a local representative except for Pinterest. "It is gratifying to see that Twitter will fulfill the obligations of the law without applying sanctions to reduce the internet traffic bandwidth," the minister tweeted. He said representatives are important for eliminating violations of the law.

Facebook, VKontakte (VK), YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Dailymotion have also complied with the new laws and decided to assign local representatives. The non-compliance with the new policy will result in fines or restrictions on bandwidth, blocking access to the platforms, according to reports. Turkey has already started to implement advertisement bans for Twitter, Periscope, and Pinterest since January.

According to Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey will limit the bandwidth of platforms that flout requirements by up to 90 per cent and ban Turkish-based firms from running advertisements on them. Social media giants that appoint local representatives after sanctions would have 75 per cent of the fine and bans waived and bandwidth restored. Last year, Turkey imposed a $5.43 million fine each on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for not complying with the social media rules.

Earlier this year, the Indian government had sent Twitter a list of 257 tweets and accounts that it wanted to be blocked in India in the backdrop of farmers' protests. Twitter initially, most likely after prompting from its India team, complied with the order. The blocked accounts included accounts of Caravan magazine, a popular Bollywood actor and activists. The accounts were unblocked after public outrage followed a review decision from the Twitter team, likely in the US. The social media giant was also instructed to remove 1178 accounts on February 4, which according to sources were being run from Pakistan as that they were tweeting about the ongoing farmers' protests.

Twitter in a public blog postsaid it only partially complied with the orders after which the Indian government expressed disappointment in the platform. The accounts Twitter withheld were available in countries outside of India and did not act on accounts that consisted of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians facing flak from the government. "Secretary expressed his deep disappointment to Twitter leadership about the manner in which Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order," the government said in a statement.

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