BrandArena: Turkey Hits Twitter, Pinterest with Advertising Bans

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Turkey Hits Twitter, Pinterest with Advertising Bans

Turkey on Tuesday, January 19, 2020 imposed an advertising ban on social media platforms Twitter, Pinterest and Periscope for failing to comply with a controversial new law that requires social media platforms to appoint legal representatives in the country. The new law was enforced to ensure the representatives deal with complaints about content on their platforms.

Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Dailymotion and the Russian social media site VKontakte have agreed to set up legal entities in the country

“We hope that Twitter and Pinterest which have still not announced their representatives will rapidly take the necessary steps,” said Omer Fatih Sayan, the deputy minister in charge of communications and infrastructure, after the advertising bans for Twitter, its live video-streaming app, Periscope and on the image sharing network, Pinterest, were announced on Turkey’s Official Gazette.

According to Sayan, “It is our last wish to impose bandwidth reductions for social networks that insist on not complying with their obligations.”

Companies that refuse to designate an official representative are subjected to fines, followed by advertising bans and could face bandwidth reductions that would make their platforms too slow to use.

The law — which human rights and media freedom groups say amounts to censorship — forces social media companies to maintain representatives in Turkey to deal with complaints about content on their platforms.

Twitter and Pinterest have not made any official comment on the advertising ban.

The Turkish law which came into effect in October 2020, stipulates that the local representative of these social platforms would be tasked with responding to individual requests to take down content violating privacy and personal rights within 48 hours or to provide grounds for rejection. The company would be held liable for damages if the content is not removed or blocked within 24 hours.

The law also requires social media data to be stored in Turkey, raising concerns in a country where the government has a track record of clamping down on free speech.

Rights groups have said the decision by international tech companies to bow to Turkish pressure and appoint representatives would lead to censorship and violations of the right to privacy and access to information in a country where independent media is severely curtailed. The Freedom of Expression Association says more than 450,000 domains and 42,000 tweets have been blocked in Turkey since October.

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