The Turkish parliament passed a law on Wednesday to have more control over social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, forcing it to comply with strict conditions or face fines.
Rights groups and freedom of expression activists have warned that the “very harsh” law would give the government more power to increase Internet censorship and urged tech giants like Google to reject it.
The official Turkish Anadolu news agency stated that the networks that visit more than one million users daily in Turkey will have to appoint a legal representative in the country.
Failure to appoint a representative, who must be a Turkish citizen, will result in fines and gradually reduce the bandwidth of the platform, making it unusable.
These platforms should also store user data from Turkey in the country, making it easier for prosecutors and other authorities to access them.
Ankara routinely arrests and prosecutes people for criticizing the government and its policies on social media.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened this month with legislation aimed at regulating social media.
Erdogan described social media as “corruption” and “a source of lies, slander, attacks on personal rights and assassinations”.
The law was easily passed, with Erdogan (Justice and Development) and its far-right ally, the National Movement Party, retaining a parliamentary majority.