Turkey: Facebook and other companies “in danger of becoming an instrument of state censorship”

Turkey: Facebook and other companies “in danger of becoming an instrument of state censorship” - Protection

18 January 2021

Responding to Facebook’s announcement that it would appoint a local representative in Turkey in compliance with the draconian new social media law, Milena Buyum, Amnesty International’s Turkey Campaigner said:

“Over the last weeks we have watched as companies, one-by-one, have complied with a draconian new law that will stifle dissent.

“Facebook’s decision leaves them – and Google, Youtube and others – in serious danger of becoming an instrument of state censorship. They must tell us and their users in Turkey what concrete steps they will take to prevent this from happening.”

Sarah Clarke, Article 19’s Head of Europe and Central Asia Programme:

“We are calling on social media companies not to contribute to Turkey’s censorship of online content and not to expose users to the risk of arbitrary arrest and prosecution by handing over their private data to Turkish authorities.

“Facebook, and the other tech companies which are establishing a presence in Turkey, must now publicly disclose the specific steps they will take to respect the right to freedom of expression, given the pressure they will undoubtedly face from the authorities and the lack of an independent judiciary.”

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Turkey’s advertising ban for social media platforms with over one million daily users that have failed to comply with the requirement that they establish a representation in the country is set to come into force tomorrow. The ban will effectively prevent anyone from advertising on these platforms, leading to a significant loss of revenue.

Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights by taking to take pro-active steps to ensure that they don’t cause or contribute to human rights abuses, cease any activity that they find is causing or contributing to human rights abuses and remedy any harm they may have caused or contributed to.

For more about the social media law see https://www.article19.org/resources/turkey-tiktoks-compliance-with-social-media-law-enables-expansion-of-censorship-regime/ and https://www.article19.org/resources/turkey-youtube-precedent-threatens-free-expression/