Legal AlertThe Procedures and Principles on Social Network Providers Has Been Published in the Official Gazette Dated 01.04.2023 and Numbered 32150.

5 April 2023

The Information and Communication Technologies Board Decision (“Decision”) has been published in the Official Gazette on 01.04.2023 by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (“Authority”) regulating the procedures and principles regarding social network providers.

The Decision aims to determine the obligations of the social network provider and the procedures and principles regarding the implementation of these obligations.

Social network providers, which constitute the main subject of the Decision, are defined as “real and legal persons who enable users to create, view and share content such as text, images, audio, location, etc. on the internet for social interaction purposes.”

However, platforms such as personal websites, electronic commerce websites and news websites, where content for social interaction is offered as secondary and peripheral services, are excluded from the scope of social network providers.

Most importantly, according to Article 13 of the Decision, all social network providers with more than 1 million daily access in Turkey are obliged to take the necessary measures to keep user data in Turkey.

Article 4 of the Decision obliges all foreign social network providers with more than 1 million daily access in Turkey to designate at least one authorized natural or legal person as their representative in Turkey.

This representative is assigned the following obligations:

  • Fulfil the requirements of notifications, notices or requests sent by the Authority, the Association of Access Providers or other judicial authorities;
  • Respond to applications and fulfil other obligations to be made by individuals within the scope of the Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Combating Crimes Committed through These Publications;
  • Fulfil the responsibilities arising from the social network provider being a content or hosting provider and other obligations under the law;
  • Report to the Authority

Within the scope of the reporting obligation pursuant to Article 10 of the Decision, all social network providers with more than 1 million daily access in Turkey are required to notify the Authority every 6 months with reports prepared in Turkish containing statistical and categorical information on the implementation of the decisions to remove and/or block access to the content notified to them and the applications to be made by individuals.

Another very important obligation is to respond positively or negatively to the applications made by individuals within 48 hours, provided that the reason is stated. The social network provider will need to provide a Turkish language option for applications to be made within the scope of these obligations, and the applications made in Turkish will need to be answered in Turkish.

In addition to these regulations, social network providers are also required to create an advertisement library, to deliver the requested information to the judicial authorities when requested by the Public Prosecutor regarding the investigation carried out within the scope of certain crimes, and to provide differentiated services for children to protect minors.

Administrative fines are stipulated for unfulfilled obligations. For example, the Authority will notify the social network provider that does not fulfil its obligation to designate a representative. The social network provider that fails to designate a representative within 30 days following the notification will be imposed an administrative fine of 10 million Turkish liras. If a representative is not designated within 30 days following the notification of the administrative fine, a further administrative fine of 30 million Turkish liras may be imposed.

Social network providers who fail to fulfil the obligation to respond to applications made by individuals will be fined 5 million Turkish liras; and those who fail to fulfil the reporting obligation will be fined 10 million Turkish liras.

The Decision entered into force on the date of its publication.

You can access the full Turkish text of the Decision from the link below.