ICTA’s Procedures and Principles for Social Media Providers in Turkey
As the new regulations on the legislation concerning social media platforms and online services commenced to be enforced as of 1 October 2020, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) published its procedures and principles regarding the implementation of obligations of social network providers under the decision number 2020/DK-İD/274 (“Decision”) on 2 October 2020. You may reach the Turkish text of the Decision via the link: https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2020/10/20201002-5.pdf
The importance of the Decision lies on the provisions has been set on (i) the scope of the meaning of the Provider, (ii) qualification of the representative, (iii) representative’s obligation of providing contact information, (iv) individual’s removal requests, (v) data localization as mentioned-below:
First, if real and/or legal persons that include content for social interaction only in a certain part of the broadcast will not be meeting the definition of social media provider. Second; platforms, where content for social interaction is offered as a secondary and ancillary services, falls out of the scope. Especially personal platforms, e-commerce sites, and news sites are cited as example on the related article.
The representative(s) can be a real or legal person(s). It is obligated that if the representative(s) who is a legal entity needs to be established in Turkey and to have acquired legal personality according to Turkish Law. Furthermore, if the representative(s) is a real person they are required to be Turkish citizen.
The Provider is under the obligation of providing the representative(s) address, which also needs to be functional as a correspondence address, and e-mail address on the website where they can easily be seen by the user. In case there is any change in the listed contact information, these changes are immediately declared on the website.
The Provider can either accept the removal request or deny it by providing a justification where a person who believes a content violates their personal and privacy rights. On this topic, we would like to underline that in cases where a removal request has been issued in the Turkish language, the social network provider is under the obligation of responding the request in the Turkish language as well.
The biannual reports which under the obligation of the Provider also needs to be published on the social network provider’s website, free of any personal data. While localizing the data, the Provider shall comply with any kind of protection of personal data regulation that has been set by local legislations.
Foreign or domestic Providers are obligated to conserve collected personal data in a server located in Turkey and to take necessary measures. Measures are needed to be taken primarily towards basic user information and other personal data which shall be classified by ICTA. These measures need to be reported to ICTA on every biannual rapport.
If the Social Network Provider fails to respond individual’s removal request faces a fine of TRY 5.000.000 (five million Turkish Lira). The Decision sets the examination criteria for sanction of the administrative fine, such as (i) not establishing the necessary systems to fulfill these obligations effectively (ii) responding negatively to certain individuals or institutions, (iii) breaching the timeline, (iv) not providing any justification for the negative responses given.
It is crucial to note that according to the Decision, the Provider has the opportunity to make a request to ICTA for to be considered as out of the scope of Law no. 5156. The Provider can only issue this request if they have under one million access per day. In any case, if ICTA determines that The Provider receives over one million access per day, they can reinstate the Provider under the scope of Law no.
Considering that the foreign Providers mostly do not have any establishment or representative in Turkey enabling Turkish authority to apply sanctions, the competent authorities, with this new regulation, seems to aim to ease censorship/general control over the social media contents.
You may find further details on Law no. 5156 on our previous publication via the link: https://www.nsnlawbulletin.com/post/new-obligations-for-social-media-providers-in-turkey
Article contact: Bilge Derinbay / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org