Facebook to abstain from appointing Turkey representative, face penalties – expert

Social media giant Facebook has decided against appointing a Turkey representative, defying a requirement placed on certain social media platforms by the Turkish government, cyber rights expert Yaman Akdeniz said on Monday.

“Facebook has decided not to appoint a Turkey representative in line with (Turkey’s) newly-passed Social Media Law,’’ Akdeniz said on Twitter.

In July, Turkish parliament ratified a bill introducing new powers to control social media. The bill was passed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), stipulates that social media

companies with more than one million users must appoint a legal representative in Turkey to address the authorities' concerns over content and includes deadlines for its removal.

Akdeniz said it remains to be seen what the government’s reaction would be, but underlined that the bill was passed by parliament in a period of 10 days without consultation and posed serious problems regarding basic rights and freedoms.

Facebook’s refusal to comply with the law would mean they will be faced with “a tiered penalty system,’’ Akdeniz said.

“They will be slapped with a penalty of 10 million lira ($1.28 million) in November, followed by 30 million lira in December,’’ he said. “There is a six-month period ahead that leads all the way to the reduction of Internet bandwidth.’’

According to the law, companies could face fines, blocked advertisements or have their bandwidth slashed by up to 90 percent.