Facebook has told the Turkish government that the company will not comply with a new controversial internet law, the company reports Financial Times (FT) based on two insiders. Facebook did not want to respond to the newspaper.

The law requires that social media companies operating in Turkey have a representative based in the country. This person should be the point of contact for the Turkish authorities.

Turkey has the power under the law to block Internet traffic to a site if a company does not comply with the law. This does not completely block a site, but is practically inaccessible. For example, the Turkish authorities can take measures if illegal messages are not removed quickly enough.

Critics point out that Turkey can use the law to commit censorship or silence critics. The country has little freedom of the press. Social media offers refuge for people who want to make their voices heard.

Turkish researcher and activist Yaman Akdeniz writes Twitter that Facebook has made known to him the decision not to appoint a representative. He says in the FT that he hoped for this choice because it “is a major blow to Turkey’s attempts to control social media”.

Turkey has more often blocked social media in the past if it wanted to limit the role of the platforms. It is unclear whether the Turkish authorities will take action over Facebook’s choice.

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