Duvar English

Social media giant Facebook has rejected Turkey’s new obligation to appoint representatives to the country in what an expert said “a major blow to the government.”

Cyber rights activist Yaman Akdeniz announced the company’s decision from his Twitter account, as he also said that he expects Twitter’s decision to be influenced by Facebook’s move.

“Facebook decided NOT to appoint a Turkish based representatives in Turkey in relation to the new social media law. This will be a major blow to the Turkish government’s plan to compel social media giants to have legal representation in Turkey,” Akdeniz tweeted on Oct. 5.

“It remains to be seen what Twitter will decide but the decision of Facebook [in] NOT to appoint a legal representative in Turkey should influence Twitter’s decision too,” he added.

Turkey’s new social media regulation went into effect on Oct. 1 amid intense criticism on censorship, bringing along a string of restrictions for social media companies, including the requirement to open offices in Turkey, and a halving of their bandwidth if they fail to comply.

The new legislation requires that social media platforms with more than one million users to appoint representatives in Turkey, effectively placing them under Turkish jurisdiction.

If social media companies fail to comply with this requirement, they will face administrative fines, advertisement bans, and finally, gradual lowering of their bandwidth in the country until access is practically barred.

The regulation also allows social media users to report content that they believe violates their rights, and social media representatives will be mandated to respond to these reports within 48 hours, or face five million liras in fines.