Procedures and Principles About Social Network Provider
The new decision of the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (“BTK”) on the “Procedures and Principles About Social Network Provider” (“Procedures and Principles”) was published on the Official Gazette and entered into force on April 1, 2023.
The procedures and principles, which were first regulated by BTK in 2020 and included the responsibilities and obligations of social network providers are updated in line with the additional article 4 of the Law on the Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed through Such Broadcasts with no. 5651 (“Law”).
The purpose of the Procedures and Principles is regulated as determining the obligations and the procedures and principles regarding the implementation of these obligations of the social network provider which is defined as “natural persons or legal entities that provide opportunity for users to create, view or share content such as text, images, sounds, location on the internet for the purpose of social interaction” under the Law. In addition, it is clearly stated that the content for social interaction purposes only in a certain part of the broadcast on the internet or platforms such as e-commerce sites where the content for social interaction is offered as a secondary and ancillary service is out of the scope.
Along with the Procedures and Principles, detailed regulations have been made regarding the following obligations of social network providers regulated in the Law:
i. Social network providers with more than one million daily access from Turkey:
Obligation to appoint a representative in Turkey
Responding to applications regarding content
Reporting to BTK statistical and categorical information on implementation of decisions to remove content and/or block access, and applications made by individuals
Creating an advertisement library
Keeping the data of users in Turkey in the country
ii. Regardless of the number of daily accesses, all social network providers:
Informing the judicial authorities about the content subject to certain crimes
Providing segregated services for children
Protecting user rights
Establishing an effective application mechanism in order to remove title tags and featured content with warning method
Sharing information with law enforcement about contents that endanger people's life and property safety
Submitting any type of requested information and document to BTK
Creating a crisis plan for emergency situations affecting public safety and public health
The sanctions that will be applied to social network provider in the event of failing to fulfill the above-mentioned obligations are also regulated in detail with the Procedures and Principles. While the said sanctions vary according to the breached obligation and the repetition of the breach, the amounts of administrative fines to be applied vary between TRY 10.000.000 and TRY 30.000.000 (Approx. EUR 478.000 and 1.435.000). In addition, for some violations, prohibiting to give advertisement to the social network provider by taxpayers in Turkey and limiting social network bandwidth may be imposed.
Finally, it should be noted that if certain obligations set out in the Procedures and Principles are not fulfilled, including obligations related to the storage of data in the country, protection of user rights and the provision of segregated services specific to children; an administrative fine up to 3% of the social network provider's global turnover for the previous calendar year may be applied by BTK.
As a result, the Procedures and Principles contain details regarding the implementation of the regulations on social network providers that was stipulated under the Law. Within this scope, it is important for social network providers to comply with the obligations regulated under the Procedures and Principles, in order not to face administrative sanctions.
Authors: Hatice Ekici Tağa, Sümeyye Uçar, Ebru Gümüş