According to a recent law passed by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called Internet Law 5651, any social media company that operates in Turkey and has more than one million users in the country must store their personal data on servers located in Turkey.
Twitter will designate a local representative who will respond to government requests in less than 48 hours
In addition, these companies must have an open office in the country and have an official representative, a delegated person who is responsible for eliminating any type of content that is required by the government – to preserve, supposedly, the privacy of users – in less 48 hours.
Companies that do not comply with the new legislation could face economic sanctions, a ban on displaying advertising in the country (something that Twitter was already suffering), as well as reductions in bandwidth speeds – something that Twitter also experiences in Russia – or even the impossibility of operating in the country and having to close.
Faced with this situation, and despite the fact that in previous weeks Twitter had indicated that it would not open an office in the country, Twitter now declines and indicates that it will have official representation to comply with Turkish legislation. Despite this, the company said in an official statement that it “will continue to protect the voice and data of users who use Twitter in Turkey and will be transparent in how they handle government requests.”
In this sense, Twitter publishes a Transparency Report every six months in which it details, country by country, the number of requests for information made by any government in the world, or for the withdrawal of information, and the number of times they have been attended government requests. In the case of Turkey, these must be attended within 48 hours to comply with the legislation.
Twitter is not the only company that during the past year was fined by the Turkish government. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok also had to pay about five million dollars (40 million Turkish liras) for not having a legal representative in the country. All these companies had already regularized their situation since then and only Twitter was missing to designate legal representation.