Turkey has imposed hefty fines on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and other platforms, for violating a new law that exerts greater control over social media.
The announcement was made, ironically on Twitter, by Deputy Transport and Infrastructure Minister Omer Sayan on Wednesday.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok, were each fined 10 million lira (1.17 million dollars), Sayan said.
They were penalised for failing to appoint a representative based in Turkey, within the legally mandated deadline.
The law, described as “draconian’’ by rights groups and free speech campaigners, was passed by parliament in July and went into effect in October.
It states that foreign social media platforms accessed by more than 1 million daily users in Turkey would have to appoint legal representatives based in Turkey.
Failure to do so would result in heavy fines, advertising bans and gradually having the platform’s bandwidth slashed, rendering it unusable.
They will also have to store users’ data in Turkey, making it easier for the authorities to access.
Turkish authorities often target social media users over content deemed illegal.
In July, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for greater control over social media which he described as a “source of lies.’’
Erdogan’s anger came after his grandson’s birth announcement prompted attacks on Twitter.
Sayan, however, said he had confidence that the social media networks would comply and appoint representatives.
“Our intent is not to be in conflict with these providers, which serve billions of people around the world,’’ he tweeted.