Facebook and Twitter are fighting back as more and more companies appoint Turkish representatives before the advertising ban
The number of companies posting local representatives to Turkey has increased in recent weeks to comply with the country’s new social media law. However, others, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, only have to act a few days before the advertising ban comes into effect.
Social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, were fined a total of TL 40 million ($ 5.35 million) in the first of two penalty loops in the second half of last year.
If the companies do not meet the requirements and do not appoint a local representative by January 19, the government could ban Turkish companies from advertising on the platforms.
After YouTube in December and TikTok earlier this month, the US employment platform LinkedIn is the latest to accept the request and send a representative for the country.
“Days before the advertising ban, LinkedIn announced that it would appoint a representative for our country,” tweeted Ömer Fatih Sayan, the country’s deputy transport and infrastructure minister, on Saturday.
Turkey will limit the range of disregarding platforms by up to 90% and Turkey-based companies will prohibit advertising.
According to the Advertisers Association, Turkish companies spent an estimated 3.5 billion TL on online advertising in the first half of last year. The ads, mostly on social media, account for 55% of the companies’ marketing, it said. The state levies 22.5% of advertising expenditure as a tax.
Sayan stressed that Turkey is urging the platforms to send representatives before the penalties go into effect.
Other platforms that local representatives have assigned include VKontakte (VK), Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, and Dailymotion.
Sayan welcomed the platforms that official representatives had appointed, adding, “We expect the same sensitivity from other vendors.”
Under the amended law, which went into effect on October 1, social media companies with more than 1 million Turkish users must appoint a representative for the country on a daily basis.
The companies had already been informed of the five levels of punishment for social network providers who did not appoint a representative from Turkey.
If the platforms fail to do so, Turkish companies will be banned from advertising with them.
Failure to meet the requirement within three months of the ban will cut the bandwidth of businesses by 50%, which will increase to 90% if they fail to do so within one month of the previous sanction.
Parliament first ratified the law regulating social media in July, which forces platforms to comply with conditions or face fines and bandwidth reductions.
The draft law creates a legal framework for social media providers and aims to appoint a responsible representative in the event of investigations or legal proceedings in connection with crimes committed on the platforms.
It defines social network providers as real or legal persons that enable users to create, monitor or share online content such as text, visual content, voice recordings and places for social interactions.
As part of the legislation, social media companies must respond to requests from the Turkish government in Turkish and respond to requests about privacy and privacy rights within 48 hours.
Platforms are required to publish semi-annual reports on their response rates to such requests.
In addition, social media companies must take steps to host the data of users based in Turkey.
WhatsApp’s new privacy statement asks users to consent to the app’s parent company, Facebook and its subsidiaries, collecting WhatsApp data, which includes users ‘phone numbers, contacts’ phone numbers, locations, and more.
The announcement sparked outrage around the world, with users flocking to competing private messaging apps including Telegram, Signal and Turkish BiP.
The move and widespread criticism last week prompted the Turkish Competition Authority (RK) and the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (KVKK) to initiate two separate investigations at WhatsApp and Facebook because of the new rules for the sharing of data.
On Friday, the app moved its February 8 deadline for accepting the update to increase business transactions on the platform to May 15.
The update focused on enabling users to communicate with businesses and did not affect non-face-to-face conversations that will continue to have end-to-end encryption.