Turkey slaps social media platforms $3.8M fines for defying new law

Turkey’s Information and Communications Technologies Authority, BTK, on Dec. 11 imposed fines of 30 million Turkish liras ($3.8 million) on digital media giants including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope and TikTok, following the first 10 million lira fine a month ago. If companies still fail to appoint official representatives to the country within the following 30 days, they will face an advertising ban.

Duvar English - Anadolu Agency 

Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) on Dec. 11 slapped multiple social media giants with a penalty of 30 million Turkish liras ($3.8 million) each for failing to appoint a representative to ensure they conform to Turkish law.

The fine was applied to platforms that are accessed over 1 million times per day in Turkey, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, Linkedin, Dailymotion and TikTok. 

A new social media law came into effect as of Oct. 1. After the first 30-day period to appoint their local representatives, authorities had fined social media platforms 10 million Turkish liras (around $1.2 million).

Meanwhile, Russian site VK has since appointed a representative and escaped the penalty.

After the second 30-day term, the penalty rose to 30 million Turkish liras ($3.8 million).

If companies still fail to comply with the requirement within the following 30 days, Turkish advertisers will be banned from their sites.

Three months after the advertising ban, authorities will be able to reduce the internet bandwidth of these platforms by 50 percent first and then 90 percent after another month of non-compliance.

If the social media giants appoint local representatives, 75 percent of the fine will be waived and their bandwidth restored.

As part of the law, social media firms are obliged to answer requests from Turkey in Turkish.

They must respond to requests on personal and privacy rights within 48 hours.

The platforms are also required to publish semi-annual reports for showing request statistics on personal and privacy rights.

Social networks that do not remove illegal content within 24 hours following a court verdict will be held responsible.