• Hikmet Fadillioglu

Advertisement Ban Imposed on Twitter, Pinterest and Periscope in Turkey

The amendments to the Law Regulating the Publication over Internet (the “Law”) introduced certain regulations relating to the social media institutions (or social network providers as defined in the Law). The law requires the social network providers having more than one million daily access to appoint a representative in Turkey and notify the same to Information Technologies and Communication Authority (“ITCA”) of Turkey. Following the amendment, ITCA has adopted and published the Procedures and Principles Regarding the Social Network Providers (the “Procedures”) regulating the same.

On the basis of the Law and the Procedures;

1. In case a representative is not appointed and notified by a social network provider, ITCA would notify them to fulfil this requirement,

2. In case the social network provider does not fulfil this requirement within the first 30 days after the notification of ITCA, an administrative fine of TRY 10 million would be charged,

3. In case the social network provider does not fulfil this requirement within 30 days after the notification of the first administrative fine, second administrative fine of TRY 30 million would be imposed on the same.

Please note that abovementioned fines were already imposed on social network providers such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok etc. and this issue is reflected in the local press as well.

4. In case the requirement is not fulfilled within 30 days following the notification of the second administrative fine, ITCA would prohibit the taxpayers residing in Turkey (i) to submit new advertisements to these social network providers, (ii) enter into new agreements with the social network provider and (iii) make money transfers to the social network provider relating to the same. In addition, Article 14.3 of the Procedures stipulates that this prohibition/ban to advertise would be published in the Official Gazette.

Unlike the administrative fine, which is notified to the related parties, the prohibition concerns the third parties, therefore, this would be published in Official Gazette in order to inform third parties as well.

On the basis of the above; the decision of ITCA imposing advertisement ban on Twitter, Pinterest and Periscope/Scope is published in the Official Gazette dated 19 January 2021. If these platforms do not comply with their obligations within a further 3-month period, ITCA may request the court to narrow bandwidth for these platforms.

Local news had previously indicated that certain social network providers (YouTube, Linkedin, TikTok etc.) accepted to appoint a representative. As for other social network providers, such as Instagram, Facebook, the news state as of 18 January 2021 that they have initiated the procedure to appoint the representative and no advertisement ban was imposed on the same with the decision of ITCA. Currently, other than Twitter, Pinterest and Periscope/Scope there is no prohibition to advertise through social network providers on which the advertisement ban is not imposed.