Turkey approves social media bill to control ‘dark-hearted’ users

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to tighten control over social media after his daughter was insulted online. (AP pic)

ANKARA: Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday passed a controversial bill which would give the government greater control of social media, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

Under the new law, social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter would have to ensure they have local representatives in Turkey and to comply with Turkish court orders over the removal of certain content or face heavy fines.

Critics are concerned over the legislation’s impact on freedom of speech.

The law would affect social networks with more than a million unique visits every day, and proposes servers with Turkish users’ data must be stored in Turkey.

It was submitted by the AKP and its nationalist partner, the MHP, which have a majority in the parliament, and passed after debates beginning on Tuesday and lasting into Wednesday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to tighten government control over social media earlier this month after he said “dark-hearted” users insulted Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and his wife Esra, the president’s daughter, following the birth of their fourth child.