Turkey slaps ad ban on Twitter
ISTANBUL: 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 undermines controversy, social media companies that do not appoint such representatives are liable for a range of fines, including the latest move by the Information and Communication Technology Authority (BTK).
The law allows authorities to remove content from platforms, rather than blocking access as in the past. This has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.
According to the latest decisions in the Government Gazette, the advertising ban of Tuesday came into effect. Twitter, its live app Periscope and the image-sharing app Pinterest were not immediately available for comment.
Deputy Transport Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said Twitter and Pinterest’s bandwidth would be reduced by 50% in April and 90% in May. Twitter said last month it would shut down Periscope by March due to declining usage.
“We are determined to do what is necessary to protect the data, privacy and rights of our country,” Sayan said on Twitter. “We will never allow digital fascism and the disregard for rules to prevail in Turkey,” he said, reflecting harsh comments from President Tayyip Erdogan.
On Monday, Facebook Inc joined other companies, saying it would appoint a local representative, but added that it would withdraw the person if it was under pressure over what was allowed on its platform.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, said a month ago that it would comply with the new law, which the government says would increase local oversight of foreign companies.
In previous months, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have imposed fines in Turkey for failing to comply. Companies that do not comply with the law will eventually have their bandwidth decreased, which in effect blocks access.
Erdogan said last week that those who control data “can establish digital dictatorships by disregarding democracy, the law, rights and freedoms”. He promised to defend what he described as the country’s “cyber country”.