Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, might be subjected to a 50 percent bandwidth reduction in Turkey in the event it fails to comply with a Turkish social media law that requires platforms to designate a representative in the country, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Wednesday.
Thursday is the deadline set by Turkish authorities for the platform to fulfill the legal requirement, and failure to do so might result in significant restrictions to users’ access to X in Turkey.
Enacted in 2020, the controversial social media legislation obligated platforms with more than 1 million daily users in Turkey to appoint a legal representative, specifically someone who must be a Turkish citizen and residing in the country. An amendment introduced in October 2022 allowed platforms to be represented by legal entities to be established by the platforms.
The law’s noncompliance clauses stipulate a gradual sanctioning of platforms that disregard it, beginning with incremental fines and continuing with an advertising ban that went into force on July 19 of this year.
Thursday is the three-month mark of the advertising ban by which the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK) may apply with a magistrate court for a bandwidth reduction of 50 percent.
In the event of continued noncompliance, the court can deliver another judgment 30 days later, this time reducing the bandwidth by at least another 50 percent or up to 90 percent at its discretion.
Yaman Akdeniz, founder of the Freedom of Expression Association (İFÖD) and prominent IT law expert, said the bandwidth reduction of 50 percent would mean a significant slowdown in access to the platform in Turkey and that a 90 percent reduction would render it practically unusable.
Akdeniz highlighted that the country is headed for local elections scheduled for early 2024 and that the platform is a major source of information for everyone on election night.
A recent report released by Freedom House ranked Turkey among the “not free” countries concerning online freedoms.