Turkey’s parliament approves social media bill

Turkey's parliament on Wednesday voted a bill allowing stricter control over social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, news wires reported.

Rights groups and free speech campaigners warned the "draconian" law would give the government more power to increase online censorship and urged tech giants such as Google to reject it. Networks accessed by more than 1 million daily users in Turkey would have to appoint a legal representative in the country, state news agency Anadolu reported. Failure to appoint a representative, who must be a Turkish citizen, would result in fines and gradually having the platform's bandwidth reduced, rendering it unusable. They must also store the data of their users from Turkey in the country, making it easier for prosecutors and other authorities to access.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this month threatened legislation to regulate social media after his grandson's birth announcement was slandered on Twitter. Erdogan called social media centres of "depravity" and a "source of lies, slander, attacks on personal rights, character assassinations."

The bill passed easily as Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have a parliamentary majority.

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