AKP seeks to fine social media platforms refusing to disclose information on troll accounts

The AKP seeks to fine social media platforms that refuse to turn in information about the owners of troll accounts. The draft law was prepared after the president announced the government would launch an "operation of truth" against fake news.

Duvar English

The new social media regulation proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) foresees fines on companies that refuse to disclose information on accounts dubbed "trolls," the daily Türkiye reported on Aug. 20.

Prompted by a statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the government would launch an operation of truth against fake news he says is being spread by the opposition, the new social media law is targeted at "fighting misinformation and disinformation" on paper. 

Current regulations don't allow for the government to access the identity of "fake account" owners, AKP officials told the daily, adding that social media platforms also refuse to hand over this information. 

"So this person can get away with whatever they've done. We're telling social network providers 'Either give us their names or give us access,'" AKP officials said. "This is not a social media law, this is a law for fighting disinformation."

Claiming that the law is targeted at "protecting the integrity of politics and the reputation of democracy," AKP officials claimed that the regulation is not going to be personal.

"There's no possibility of censorship, bans and prohibitions," AKP officials said, although the government is notorious for their restrictions on media of all forms. 

Fines will reportedly be implemented for platforms that refuse to hand over account owners' information, as well as networks that refuse to remove content that's factually incorrect. 

A Social Media Directorate is expected to be established under the new law to conduct communications with the social media platforms and the new legislation is projected to be the first item on the agenda after parliament's recess.

The current draft legislation is the second concerning social media that's come out of the ruling AKP government in the past few years, with the other forcing social media platforms to establish offices in Turkey, essentially forcing them under Turkish jurisdiction.