Turkey slaps ad ban on Twitter under new social media law


FILE PHOTO: A Twitter logo is seen outside the company headquarters, during a purported demonstration by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump to protest the social media company's permanent suspension of the president's Twitter account, in San Francisco, California, U.S., January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Ankara has imposed advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest after they failed to appoint local representatives in Turkey under a new social media law, according to decisions published on Tuesday.

Under the law, which critics say stifles dissent, social media companies that do not appoint such representatives are liable for a series of penalties, including the latest move by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK).

The law allows authorities to remove content from platforms, rather than blocking access as they did in the past. It has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.

The latest decisions in the country's Official Gazette said the advertising bans went into effect from Tuesday. Twitter, its live-streaming app Periscope, and image sharing app Pinterest were not immediately available to comment.

Deputy Transport Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said Twitter and Pinterest's bandwidth would be cut by 50% in April and by 90% in May. Twitter said last month it would shut down Periscope by March due to declining usage.

"We are determined to do whatever is necessary to protect the data, privacy and rights of our nation," Sayan said on Twitter. "We will never allow digital fascism and disregard of rules to prevail in Turkey," he said, echoing tough comments by President Tayyip Erdogan.

On Monday, Facebook Inc joined other companies in saying it would appoint a local representative, but added it would withdraw the person if it faced pressure regarding what is allowed on its platform.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc's Google, said a month ago it would abide the new law, which the government says enhances local oversight of foreign companies.

In previous months Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had faced fines in Turkey for not complying. Companies that do not abide the law will ultimately have their bandwidth slashed, essentially blocking access.

Erdogan said last week that those who control data can establish "digital dictatorships by disregarding democracy, the law, rights and freedoms". He vowed to defend what he described as the country's "cyber homeland".

(Reporting by Can Sezer; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Michael Perry and Jonathan Spicer)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Next In World

Arrival of 'sticky bombs' in Indian Kashmir sets off alarm bells
German states call for unused AstraZeneca vaccine to be given to younger people
Saudi-led coalition says it thwarted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh
Dozens detained at Kazakh opposition rallies
In Iraq, pope to visit Mosul churches desecrated by Islamic State
El Salvador's Bukele poised for majority in mid-term votes
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
U.S. FAA OK's pilots to receive Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine
U.S. calls on African Union to exert pressure over worsening crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray
Several wounded in Myanmar protests - media

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers