Turkish Competition Authority fines Facebook 6.5M dollars

The Turkish Competition Authority has ordered Facebook to pay a total fine of 346 million Turkish Liras ($6.5 million) for breaching competition rules.

The fine announced yesterday came as the result of an investigation regarding the obligation of WhatsApp users to share their data with other Meta Inc. Companies.

The company was fined for “causing a deterioration in competition by combining the data it collects from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp services to complicate the activities of its competitors operating in the online display advertising markets and personal purpose social networking services,” the authority said.

The Competition Authority’s investigation committee stated that WhatsApp and Facebook “have dominance” in the Turkish market and that the “accept or leave” mentality regarding showing consent to data sharing in order to use the WhatsApp service limited competition.

In a hearing during the investigation, WhatsApp representatives claimed that “there is not enough data to show that they are in a dominant position in Türkiye,” pointing out that the update is a global application and defended that there Türkiye had not been prioritized.

Messaging application WhatsApp informed its users in Türkiye at the beginning of 2021 that they must consent to the sharing of WhatsApp data with Facebook companies due to the updating of the terms of use and privacy policy, or else they would not be able to use WhatsApp as of Feb. 8, 2021.