Tech

Turkey passes law tightening state control on social media

Turkeys parliament on Wednesday passed a law handing the state sweeping powers to control content on social media, a move that rights groups warn will threaten free speech online.

The new legislation requires social media sites with more than 1 million Turkey-based visitors a day to designate a Turkish national as a local representative and comply with orders to remove content within 48 hours.

If companies do not comply, they can face fines of up to 10 million lira (€1.2 million) and have their bandwidth throttled by as much as 90 percent, essentially rendering their sites unusable.

The bill had the backing of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds a majority in parliament together with an allied ultranationalist party.

The president had called for greater regulation of social media companies in early July after he claimed his family had been insulted online, saying: “These platforms do not suit this nation. We want to shut down, control [them] by bringing [a bill] to parliament as soon as possible.”

Critics have warned that this law will further stifle freedom of expression in Turkey, where the vast majority of traditional news outlets have fallen under government control, leaving social media as a vital outlet for critical opinion.

Turkish social media users already routinely face censorship and arrest for voicing, sharing or liking content critical of the government and its policies. (In the first half of 2019, Turkey made thousands of requests to remove content on Twitter, which only complied in 5 percent of the cases.)

Under the new law, companies will also have to stRead More – Source