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Is it time for Turks to bid farewell to YouTube, Twitter, Netflix?

Social media is already considered a right in Turkey, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new social media censorship bill is likely to increase participation on a multitude of platforms.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 29:  In this photo illustration, social media apps are seen on a mobile phone on July 29, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey's parliament passed a new law Wednesday, to regulate social media content. The law will require foreign social media companies to have an appointed Turkish-based representative to deal with any concerns authorities have over content.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“We have to start enforcing this law before, God forbid, [US President Donald] Trump leaves office in November. We have to get the social media bill out of the Turkish parliament before the summer vacation,” said a senior bureaucrat over the phone June 20. Nine days after Al-Monitor spoke to the source, that same bill — without much change or substantial deliberation in the parliament — became law in the early hours of the morning despite the protests of the opposition.

It is called the Social Media Law. Any platform that allows users to share or view documents, images or videos can be regulated under its jurisdiction. The law refers to these platforms as “social network providers.” Indeed, Turkey already had several rather strict rules in place to regulate social media. In 2018, the government bragged about its "cyber army" of 2,700 keeping an eye on the online activities of 45 million users. These numbers have since increased. 

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