Inappropriate images that have recently appeared on the social media platform TikTok have caused great repercussions across the country. Some TikTok phenomena were detained after the images emerged, and Hüseyin Yayman, Chairman of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Digital Media Commission and AK Party Hatay Deputy, stated that they were working on the issue and that possibilities such as restricting TikTok’s bandwidth and license cancellation were on the table.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly Digital Media Commission convened to discuss issues that cause controversy regarding social media platforms, especially TikTok. At the meeting chaired by Digital Channels Commission Chairman and AK Party Hatay Deputy Hüseyin Yayman, TikTok Middle East, North Africa, Turkey (MENAT) Region Public Policy Manager and Turkey Spokesperson Emir Gelen, Filiz Türkmenoğlu, deputy general manager at a communication consultancy firm, and Filiz Türkmenoğlu, a deputy general manager at the same company. An exchange of ideas was held with Senior Media Relations Manager Murat Karakoç and TikTok Public Policy Advisor Ceyhun Emre Doğru.
“IT IS OUR RED LINE”
Yayman said that, as the government, they are against bans and censorship, and said, “The issue of democracy functioning in accordance with universal norms in our country is our red line. While defending freedoms on the one hand, protecting the individual, ensuring public order and family privacy, and providing young people with a healthy education are our red lines. The balance of democracy, freedom and security is indispensable for us. Unfortunately, the fact that digital media often see themselves above nation states, above the legislative, executive and judicial powers, and sometimes become legislators, is discussed in Turkey as well as all over the world. Unfortunately, transnational digital networks have already become a place where drugs, women trafficking, cyber fascism, child abuse and lawlessness are rampant. We can never approve of this. “We definitely think that this balance should be maintained in terms of both ensuring public order and protecting individual freedoms,” he said.
“AGE FILTER MUST BE APPLIED STRICTLY”
Stating that what is a crime in real life is also a crime in digital, Yayman said, “Just as it is against the normal flow of life for a woman to undress in a city square and those around her donate money to that person, it is also against the normal flow of life in digital. We definitely think that we need to be more careful and more responsible here. This isn’t just a warning for TikTok. Freedom is important to us, but our family is even more important, the future of our children is much more important. Here, it is never acceptable for digital network providers to use certain applications aimed at children, especially at a young age. We definitely want the age filter to be strictly applied. “I would like to express that there are some preparations in the Turkish Grand National Assembly regarding these issues,” he said.
“WHAT IS THE PHENOMENA?”
Stating that they talked at length about phenomena in the Digital Mediums Commission, Yayman said, “I would like to ask this once again: What is the phenomenon about? As a generation, we are people who have received such an education that goodness, virtue, mercy, humanity, conscience and being a righteous person are universal norms and that people should be good. “It is never acceptable to be a phenomenon of evil, lies, drugs and many addictions that I cannot say here,” he said.
STATEMENT FROM TIKTOK REPRESENTATIVE
Yayman stated that they wanted a descriptive and convincing presentation about TikTok and gave the floor to TikTok Spokesperson Emir Gelen. Gelen stated that they are aware that they can always do more when it comes to platform security and said, “We are aware of how important it is for all of us to moderate the issue of moderation and quickly remove content deemed harmful. More than 40 thousand personnel worldwide, including Turkey, work for the security of the platform. Of course, this number also includes moderation teams. Our moderators monitor content around the clock to ensure it meets the high standards we set in our community guidelines. We are investing heavily in our technology, including artificial intelligence, to ensure we have systems and processes in place to remove any content that violates our community guidelines as quickly as possible. “One of the issues we particularly focused on was the restrictions imposed on users under the age of 18, that is, underage users, and increasing the role of families in these processes,” he said.
Gelen continued his speech as follows:
“As the social network provider that provides the most employment in Turkey and the social network provider that invests the most in localization, it is the first company to comply with the Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Publications Made on the Internet and Combating Crimes Committed through These Publications, which was revised last year.” As we are, we will continue to be an example to other platforms in our industry to invest more in Turkey in other areas.“
The commission continues with deputies asking questions to the TikTok team after giving their opinions.