Social media regulation bill passed in parliament committee
A bill on bringing regulations to social media platforms in Turkey passed in a justice committee in parliament late July 23, with opposition groups likening the move to those in “isolated regimes” elsewhere in the world.
In a debate in parliament, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) argued that the bill aims to take social media companies out of Turkey with heavy sanctions and suggested that the country would become like isolated regimes like “Iran, North Korea and China.”
Özlem Zengin, deputy group chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who proposed the bill, said that social media networks have reached tremendous powers, saying they were above states, and the ruling party “weighed the new arrangements.”
The bill sets a formal definition of social media providers and aims to designate a responsible representative for investigations and legal proceedings relating to offenses on platforms. It defines real or legal entities, who allow users to create, monitor or share online content such as text, visual, voice and location for social interaction, as social network providers.
Foreign-based social network providers that have more than one million daily visitors in Turkey will assign at least one representative in the country. This person’s contact information will be included on the website in a way that is obvious and easy to access.
If the representative of the provider is a real entity, not a legal one, they have to be a Turkish citizen. Social media providers would have 48 hours to respond to orders to remove offensive content.
Providers will also take necessary measures to store data on users in Turkey inside the country.
Administrative fines for providers who fail to meet obligations would be raised to encourage compliance. Previously, fines were between 10,000 -1 00,000 Turkish Liras ($1,500 - $15,000), but the amount would now be between 1 million-10 million liras ($146,000 - $1.46 million).