Social media active in Turkey risk that their site will become practically inaccessible if illegal content from users is not adequately removed. A law that regulates this was approved by the Turkish parliament on Wednesday. The law is controversial, as critics point out that the measures can be used to commit censorship and silence dissidents.

If a social medium does not comply with certain parts of the law, internet traffic to the site can be blocked by up to 90 percent. This makes the platform practically inaccessible. The companies also risk fines or blockades of advertisements, causing them to miss out on income.

Under the new law, social media must also appoint a representative based in Turkey. It should become the point of contact for the Turkish authorities in their view of worrying messages.

The Turkish news agency Anatolia reports that social media have 48 hours to remove offensive posts from their platform. Companies must also take measures to store information from Turkish users within national borders.

Turkey has a history of strict social media control, especially during military operations. The platforms are used by Turks to make critical sounds. Social media offers a refuge when the free press is gagged.