Turkish lawmakers passed legislation Wednesday that would give the government sweeping new powers to regulate social media content.
The bill orders social media platforms with over 1 million daily users — such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — to open offices in Turkey and imposes stiff penalties if the international companies refuse, including slowing the bandwidth of the sites and making them largely inaccessible.
These offices would be responsible for responding to the demands of the government and individuals to block or remove content hosted on their platforms that is deemed offensive. They would have 48 hours to comply and could be fined more than $700,000 if they fail to respond.
The new law, which is expected to go into effect Oct. 1, also requires the social media companies to store user data inside Turkey, raising privacy concerns.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing AKP party, having already taken