Pinterest establishes legal entity in Turkey to avoid bans

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The image-sharing platform Pinterest became the latest social media company to agree to set up a legal entity in Turkey to comply with a controversial social media law.

Pinterest appointed a legal representative in Turkey on Friday, Transport and Infrastructure Deputy Minister Omer Fatih Sayan said. Sayan said the move means all social media platforms with more than 1 million users in Turkey are now adhering to the law in order to continue operating in the country.

Turkey slapped advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest in January as part of a series of measures that were intended to force social media companies to establish legal representatives in Turkey to deal with content complaints.

Companies that failed to designate official representatives were subject to fines, followed by advertising bans. The next penalty they would have faced were bandwidth reductions that would have made their platforms too slow to use.

Under the law, local representatives of social media companies are responsible for answering individual requests to take down content violating privacy and personal rights within 48 hours or to provide grounds for rejection. The company would be held liable for damages if the content is not removed or blocked within 24 hours.

The law also requires social media data to be stored in Turkey, raising concerns in a country where the government has a track record of clamping down on free speech.

Human rights and media freedom groups have criticized the law, saying it amounts to censorship and violates the rights to privacy and access to information.

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