Some 58.8% of the people in Turkey do not follow politicians on social media outlets, according to a recent survey presented to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a report said Wednesday.
The poll, conducted with the participation of 1,512 people over the age of 18 in 26 provinces, focused on the social media habits of individuals and their involvement with politicians on these outlets, the Hürriyet daily reported.
A majority of the participants said they prefer to use Instagram and Facebook over other media outlets, but 58.8% said they do not follow politicians on these outlets, while 25.8% said they only follow politicians whom they support.
While 25.1% of the participants said they rarely agree with political debates on social media outlets, just 6% said they frequently agree with such debates, while 68.9% said they never agree. Likewise, 45.1% said they never follow political debates on social media, while 35.2% said they rarely follow them and 19.7% said they frequently follow such debates, while 44% said they do not think debates on social media are more persuasive compared with face-to-face debates.
In response to a question about if social media outlets help them get to know politicians in a more thorough manner, 36.6% said they disagree, 32.4% said they agree and 14.9% said they neither agree nor disagree.
A whopping 79.6% of the participants said fake accounts should be banned, while 80% said they trust political posts shared by fake accounts on social media.
Over 38% of the participants said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is the strongest party on social media outlets, while 16.9% said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was the strongest, followed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with 2.1% and the Good Party (IP) with 1.7%.
There are 51 million Facebook users in Turkey, 64% of whom are males and 36% are females, according to statistics. Users spend 30 minutes on average on Facebook alone on a daily basis, and there are about 100 million fake accounts on Facebook alone.
Last year, social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube and TikTok, were handed a TL 10 million ($1.18 million) fine each for failing to appoint a representative to Turkey as required by the new law.
The new legislation also requires social media providers to store user data in Turkey.
Turkish leaders have long pushed for reforms and recently pressed the issue after a series of insults directed at mostly women in politics, including the family members of politicians, were posted online.
Turkey struggles to fight fake news and defamation campaigns on social media, and the bill aims to prevent users from engaging in such activities.
Similar models used in Germany and France were taken into consideration as a reference while drafting the law.