The social media law was highly controversial in advance – now the Turkish parliament has passed it. It puts the network operators under greater control. Critics fear censorship.

In Turkey, Twitter, Facebook and other social media will be controlled more closely in the future. The country’s parliament passed a highly controversial law. Among other things, it obliges platforms with more than one million Turkish users to open branches in Turkey with a Turkish citizen as a representative, as the Anadolu news agency reported.

Providers must also respond to requests to remove or change certain content within 48 hours. If they do not comply with the regulations, they face severe fines and restrictions on services in the country.

Erdogan accuses networks of “immorality”

The law was initiated by the Islamic-conservative AKP by head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan accuses the online networks of spreading “immorality”. Among other things, the president argues that his family has been insulted in the networks.

“We aim to end the insult, abuse on social media and the harassment caused by this medium,” said Özlem Zengin, AKP deputy group leader, previously defending the law.

Critics fear that information on the Internet will be censored even more by the new regulations. Reporters Without Borders had said the government was trying to control “the last refuge for critical journalists in Turkey.” Turkish media are largely under direct or indirect government control.

The government under Erdogan had already blocked Twitter and YouTube in 2014 after sound recordings were published there, which suggested that Erdogan and other government members were involved in a corruption scandal.

Deutschlandfunk reported on this topic on July 29, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.