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Deletion And Removal of False, Or Infringing News On The Internet

My generation and before, would buy a newspaper every morning and read it line by line whenever they got the chance. Especially on weekends, several newspapers were bought at the same time, and this would accompany both breakfast and coffee, and read for hours with a different pleasure. As a result of the extremely rapid progress of technology and the fact that the internet is accessible at every point, the need for print media has decreased over time and news sources have become visual. While there were only news sites in the past, with the fact that almost every mobile phone has become a camera, today’s news needs are mostly met from social media compared to traditional media.

Today, users now have the opportunity to post information, photos, videos, and narratives about newsworthy events they have witnessed firsthand through their social media accounts. For this reason, visual media and internet users’ news needs are met by internet news sites, which are accessed through search engines such as Google and Yandex and whose number is increasing day by day, as well as social media providers and media providers such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. platforms seem to be preferred.

According to the research, the general population, but especially the young population, rely on the internet and social media as a source of news. However, many social media studies show that social media platforms support the dissemination of unverified or false information.

While social media provides instant, fast, and unmediated access to news, it also brings with it the risk of exaggerated news, false news that feels real, fake news, intentional or unintentional false information, mistaken information, and information pollution, depending on user attitudes and behaviors. This, inevitably, requires accuracy checks for the information and news we encounter on social media. 

While conscious users who follow the same news from several channels usually do their own accuracy checks, it is a fact that there are a considerable number of people who do not intend to check the accuracy of the news at all. However, in today’s social and political life, the negative consequences of matters such as fake news, false information with or without the intent to harm, or sharing information that should be kept confidential but leaked to the public sphere to cause harm, increased to a level that makes its impacts even more felt. 

On the other hand, the speed of dissemination and the volume of reach of the content or news circulating on social networks is also incredibly fast. While social networks provide access to instant, fast and economical news and information, facilitating the production and circulation of news, leading to a numerical explosion, on the other hand, content values have decreased, and social networks’ hosting fake news has become widespread due to some malicious users who take advantage of the speed feature. 

What can a person do when faced with such news?

The legal regulation we can apply at this point is the Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Broadcasts Made on the Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed Through These Broadcasts. By applying this law, victims who are facing a crime and their personal rights have been attacked, can have this news deleted.

In our law, to remove news from the internet, the source of the news must be warned, this can be a person or news site that made the news that is unfounded, negative, or attacks on personal rights, depending on the content. First, they must be reached by the victim and demand to be removed from the news they publish. They have to request the removal of the news by applying to the content provider (that is, the people who produce, change and provide all kinds of information or data available to users over the internet) through the warning method, if they cannot reach the content provider, the hosting provider (ie, the people who provide or operate the systems that host the services and content). 

In practice, it is seen that news sites and social network providers do not pay much attention to the warnings coming from people who claim to be victims and do not respond or give negative answers, and it is even difficult to reach some of them. Under the legal regulation, if the news is not removed or cannot be reached despite access to these platforms, or if the service providers are located abroad, there are different ways of action. In addition, the legal procedures to be followed are also different according to the types of crimes listed in the law in question. For this reason, it may be beneficial to get support from a Law Firm dealing with IT law when necessary.

By law, all these platforms are legally obliged to state their promotional information in a way that users can access in their internet environment, and these people are deemed to have rejected the request, even if they do not respond. In this case, the person who claims to be a victim has the right to apply to the Magistrates’ Court and request the removal of the relevant news on the internet. This right is also called the process of removing news from the internet or the process of deleting news from the internet. Thanks to this process, the news is also extracted from internet search engines’ history and cache.

There is another fine detail here. If a piece of news is removed from news sites, this news does not disappear completely. For example, it continues to stay in the Google index for a while. For this reason, after the removal of the news from the internet, there should be an additional request for the news to be removed from the archive of the search engine by making the necessary correspondence with the headquarters of these organizations located abroad.

Can every criticism or negative news be removed?

In order for news to be removed from the internet, that news must have certain qualifications. There is no rule that every criticism or bad comment will be removed, especially for some comments and criticisms made within the limits of freedom of thought, content removal cannot be done from the internet, but for example, if it is on the public interest, violation of privacy, news or comment is a crime against the personality. It may be requested to remove news from the internet if there is a violation of the rights of the people or because of the violation of the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Series. Additional to these, the right to be forgotten should be added. For those who think about the right to be forgotten, since the subject is very broad and could be the subject of a completely different article, we can summarize it in one sentence as the right to demand that the content on the Internet not be listed in search engines.

As stated in Article 9 of the Law on the Regulation of Broadcasts Made on the Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed Through These Broadcasts, the warning method will be preferred first, and the victim of the news will apply to the content provider, or if he cannot reach it, to the hosting provider to request that the news be removed. may apply to the Criminal Court. By law, the judge in charge of content blocking requests is the Magistrates’ Court.

Upon this application, the judge may decide to block the access, and the decision to block the access will be made mainly by the method of blocking access to the content only concerning the broadcast, section, section where the violation of personal rights occurs. Unless it is necessary, it cannot be decided to block access to cover the entire broadcast. However, if the judge considers that the violation cannot be prevented by the method of preventing access to the content by specifying the URL address, he may also decide to block access to all broadcasts on the website by stating the reason.

According to the legal regulation, the decisions to block access given by the judge are sent directly to the Access Providers Association. The judge decides on the application within twenty-four hours at the latest, without a hearing. Against this decision, an appeal can be made following the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. If the content subject to the blocking of access is removed from the broadcast, the judge’s decision automatically becomes canceled. The requirement of the decision to block access to the content sent by the Association to the access provider is fulfilled by the access provider within four hours at the latest. 

If the same broadcast violating the right of personality is published on other internet addresses, if the relevant person applies to the Union, the decision of the judge is applied to these addresses as well.

With the addition made to the law in 2020, an indirect article based on the above-mentioned right to be forgotten has been added. If requested by those whose personal rights have been violated due to the content of the broadcast on the Internet, the judge may also decide not to associate the applicant’s name with the internet addresses subject to the decision within the scope of this article. The decision shows which search engines will be notified by the Association. 

Those responsible for the content, location, and access providers who do not fulfill the decision of the criminal judge of peace by the conditions and in time by the conditions specified in this article are punished with a judicial fine of five hundred days to three thousand days.

Blocking access to content due to privacy:

In the law, the privacy of private life is discussed under a separate heading in article 9/A. Persons claiming that their privacy has been violated due to a broadcast on the Internet may apply directly to the Information Technologies and Communication Authority and request the implementation of the measure to prevent access to the content. In this request, The full address of the publication causing the violation of the right, and the explanation and identity information regarding the aspects of the violation of the right are included. The President notifies the Union of this request to be implemented, and the access providers fulfill the request for an injunction within four hours at the latest.

Blocking of access is implemented by blocking access to content (in the form of URLs) related to a broadcast, section, section, picture, or video that violates the privacy of private life. 

Persons who request the blocking of access submit their request to the decision of the Magistrates’ Court within twenty-four hours from the time of the request, with the claim that the privacy of private life is violated due to the content of the broadcast on the internet.

The judge, by evaluating whether the privacy of private life has been violated due to the content of the broadcast on the internet, announces his decision within forty-eight hours at the latest and sends it directly to the Institution; otherwise, the measure of blocking access is automatically lifted.

Against this decision of the judge, an objection can be made by the President of the Institution by the provisions of the Law No. 5271. 

If the content subject to the blocking of access is removed from the broadcast, the judge’s decision automatically becomes null and void. In cases where delay is inconvenient due to the violation of the privacy of private life, the Authority shall directly prevent access upon the order of the President. The decision to block access, given by the President, is submitted for the approval of the peace judge within twenty-four hours. The judge will announce his decision within forty-eight hours.

On the other hand, in addition to the measures announced, it is also possible to file a lawsuit for pecuniary and nonpecuniary damage in the general courts in return for the material and moral pain and damage experienced, against individuals or institutions that broadcast unfounded, untrue, and unlawful news as an attack on personal rights or disclose private life. right is also available. 


Lawyer / Managing Partner of K&P Legal Law Firm



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