Turkey could ban TikTok, X also may ‘face consequences’

Istanbul, May 10 (UNI) Turkish authorities could block social media platform TikTok for violations, social network X may also “face consequences” for its refusal to appoint a representative in the country, Huseyin Yayman, the head of Turkey’s parliamentary commission on digital media, has said.

In December 2023, TikTok vowed to update its content moderation rules for Turkey to reflect local laws and public morality after criticism from lawmakers who believe the social network undermines “the foundation of the Turkish family.”

In his address to the Turkish parliament on Thursday, Yayman said internet “trolls,” or online bullies who post deliberately offensive or provocative messages online, threaten, among other things, political and public life in Turkey. The official recalled that TikTok representatives had previously responded in writing to some of the lawmakers’ questions, but the answers had been “unconvincing.”

Everyone in the parliament is against censorship, but it is necessary to “protect families and children and ensure that young people grow up with healthy minds,” Yayman said.

“Our commission is against blocking, but, according to the latest analysis of our commission, something needs to be done. TikTok has been banned in the United States, we are against this ban, but the situation may come to a legislative ban in Turkey as well,” Turkish broadcaster NTV quoted Yayman as saying.

The official also called on X to appoint a representative in Turkey.

“No one should think that he is above the law. Just as you are operating in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Austria and Denmark, it is the same with us – you must abide by the laws. I am saying for the last time, this is our last call to social network X: either you will come to Turkey or you will deal with the consequences. You said you would appoint a representative, but these have been just words so far,” Yayman said.

A Turkish regulator on Wednesday fined Meta (banned in Russia as an extremist organization) 1.2 billion Turkish lire (over $38 million) following several proceedings.

Social network Threads has been inaccessible in Turkey since April 29 following a decision of a Turkish regulator, which was dissatisfied with the automatic merging of user accounts on Threads and Instagram banned in Russia as an extremist organisation).

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