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Turkey: YouTube to appoint local representative after government pressure

Critics have warned that the new internet law, which requires such a role, will increase censorship and help silence dissent
'We remain committed to our Turkish users, creators and business partners, and will continue to preserve the platform’s vibrance and openness,' YouTube said in a statement

YouTube has become the first social media giant to establish a local legal representation in Turkey following Ankara’s imposition of millions of dollars worth of fines for failing to appoint such a role.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok had all been highlighted by the Turkish government as having failed to appoint such a representative, as required by a new internet law.

In a statement posted on its official blog on Wednesday, YouTube said it had agreed to comply with the law after "thoroughly analysing" it "over the past few months".

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The US company, which is owned by Alphabet, said: "This step toward compliance will not change how YouTube reviews content removal requests, nor will it change how YouTube handles or holds user data.

"We remain committed to our Turkish users, creators and business partners, and will continue to preserve the platform’s vibrance and openness." 

The controversial law had been in the planning for a while, but it had been brought forward to parliament in July after some users insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s newborn grandson and daughter on Twitter.

The incident prompted Erdogan to threaten to completely ban social media sites.

Critics have warned the law would increase censorship and help silence dissent. 

However, the government and the supporters of the new regulation have argued that it will accelerate the legal process to protect personal data and privacy, and remove libellous content.