A report recently published by Oxford Economics, a leading independent economic advisory firm, has shown that social media platform YouTube’s content creator ecosystem promoted employment equivalent to 45,000 full-time jobs in Turkey in 2021, contributing more than TL 2 billion ($106 million) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Titled “YouTube’s economic, social and cultural impact in Turkey,” the report is based on a survey conducted in the last quarter of 2022 on 2,000 YouTube users, more than 1,000 content creators and 500 businesses as well as interviews with experts and commentators on how the platform contributes to Turkish society and culture.
The report, which was published on the website of Oxford Economics on Thursday, revealed that YouTube’s content creator ecosystem contributed more than $106 million to the country’s GDP in 2021.
Among YouTube users in Turkey, 93 percent say they use the platform to “gain knowledge and experience”; 83 percent of parents say YouTube or YouTube Kids, which is for children under the age of 13, helps their children learn; 80 percent of teachers think it helps students learn; and 82 percent of female creators say the platform helps them “share their passions and ideas,” according to the report.
The report further showed that 68 percent of creative entrepreneurs agree that YouTube helps them bring their content to international audiences they might not otherwise be able to reach, and 78 percent of media and music companies with YouTube channels agree that the platform is “critical for new artists and/or breaking new ground in music.”
Sixty-five percent of businesses that have a channel on YouTube say it plays an important role in growing their customer base, while 81 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises that used YouTube during the Covid-19 pandemic indicate that the platform helped their organizations adapt to the process and keep their businesses afloat, according to the report.
A law that took effect in Turkey in October requires social media companies to remove “disinformation” content and share user data with authorities.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google and others are required to fully comply with the law by next April or face possible advertising bans and eventually cuts to their bandwidth, posing a dilemma for the companies before elections expected to take place in May.
Analysts and consultants said the companies have global privacy standards they are unlikely to breach in Turkey since that could set dangerous precedents for other countries looking to exert control over social platforms.
Turks are already heavily policed on social media, and many have been charged with insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or his ministers, or criticism related to government policies on a range of issues.
According to an annual report by the Freedom of Expression Association’s (İFÖD) EngelliWeb initiative, which was released in October, access bans were issued for 150,000 URLs, 8,350 Twitter accounts, 55,500 tweets, 13,500 YouTube videos and 9,500 Facebook and 9,000 Instagram posts between 2006 and 2021.