Turkey has fined global companies including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube 10 million lira ($1.18 million) for not complying with a new social media law, Deputy Transport and Infrastructure Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said on Wednesday.
Critics have said the law, approved in July, will muzzle dissent from people who resorted to online platforms after the government tightened its grip on mainstream media.
The law allows Turkish authorities to remove content from platforms, rather than blocking access as they have done in the past, and requires social media platforms to appoint a local representative to address authorities’ concerns.
“Foreign companies operating in Turkey that reach more than 1 million people daily have been told about some of the rules they need to comply with,” Sayan said on Twitter.
“With the legal period ending, social network providers that did not report a representative, namely Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok, have been fined 10 million lira,” he said.
Sayan added that the fine was the first of five steps that will be used to punish platforms if they refuse to comply with the law, with a 30 million lira fine, a ban on the advertisement, and a 50% bandwidth cut following within five months.
Companies that still do not follow the law will have their bandwidth slashed by 90%, he said, essentially blocking access. If companies comply, Sayan said the restrictions will be lifted and a quarter of the imposed fine will be collected.
Twitter <TWTR.N> did not comment on the matter. Representatives at Facebook <FB.O> and Alphabet’s <GOOGL.O> YouTube were not immediately available to comment.
($1 = 8.4931 liras)