The Turkish government has imposed fines on social media companies including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Periscope and TikTok. The fines amount to around EUR 1 million and are due to the companies refusing to fall in line with. controversial social media law enforced by the Turkish government.
The law requires that social media platforms with more than a million daily visitors appoint a representative to Turkey. Failure to do so results in the EUR 1 million fine and if it’s not paid in 30 days, this will increase to EUR 3 million.
The only platform to comply with the demands of the Turkish government was Russian social media platform VK.
News of the fines was made public by the Deputy Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Omer Fatih Sayan. His announcement, made on Twitter, was widely ridiculed.
The new social media law was enforced as of 1 October this year.
Under the new law, social media companies will have 48 hours to remove the content as demanded by Turkish courts else they face fines of up to EUR 4.3 million or blocked access. Content that is set to be removed includes anything deemed offensive to an individual or the Turkish government.
It also introduced the requirement to open an office in-country and halving of their bandwidth if they don’t comply.
The law was widely criticised amid cries of censorship and a restriction on freedom of speech and expression.
Today, the International Press Institute condemned the action taken against social media companies. They called for authorities to withdraw the sanctions and called the law “draconian”.
IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said the developments underscored the need for Turkey to withdraw the social media law, which was passed in July and entered into force on October 1.
“Turkey’s draconian social media law was put in force to restrict one of the only free spaces left for journalism and expression critical of the government”, he said. “The refusal now of social media companies to go along with this digital censorship campaign shows that the law is not just a threat to free expression, but it also practically unworkable. Turkey should withdraw these excessive fines and repeal social media law.”