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Turkish president calls social media a ‘threat to democracy’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called social media a “threat to democracy.”

“Social media, which was described as a symbol of freedom when it first appeared, has turned into one of the main sources of threat to today’s democracy,” Erdogan said in a video message, according to The Associated Press.

“We try to protect our people, especially the vulnerable sections of our society, against lies and disinformation without violating our citizens’ right to receive accurate and impartial information,” he added.

The comments come as Turkey looks to criminalize the spread of false information online; however, the country is also known for taking down social media posts that are anti-government, according to the AP. 

Social media is the main platform government critics can use to speak out, as most media in the country is owned by the government.

If the law passes, a social media regulator position would be created, and posts the government deems as misinformation would become punishable by up to five years in prison. 

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all set up offices in Turkey in 2020, the AP noted.

Tags misinformation Propaganda techniques Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Social media

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