Turkey imposes a daily fine of USD160.000 on Facebook

Having violated Law on Protection of Competition, Meta fined by Turkish competition watchdog

Turkish  Competition  Authority (RK) announced it imposed a fine of TL 4.8 million ($160,165) per day on Facebook (Meta Platforms) effective from Dec. 12, 2023.  The reason for the fine Meta Platforms failed to comply with obligations about user data collection.

As background to the story, RK investigated the mandatory data sharing introduced to WhatsApp users with a software update in 2021. And, RK issued a temporary measure requiring Meta in Turkey to stop using the messaging app users’ data in other services and inform all users about the data use. On the other hand, Meta had previously said this update would not take effect in Turkey, and all users, including those who had already approved the updated version, could continue using WhatsApp with full functionality. So, Turkish users were not supposed to receive notifications requesting their approval for this update.

Meta violated Law on Protection of Competition

As a result of the investigation, a fine of TL346 million was imposed on Facebook, determining that the company violated the Law on Protection of Competition through data consolidation practices.

It was found that by merging the data collected from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp services, Meta hindered the activities of its competitors in social network services and online video advertising markets and created barriers to market entry. (By the way, I have a story  that Facebook launched a grant program in Turkey)  

Before implementing the compliance measure, the authority instructed Meta to obtain reapproval from users who had previously approved consolidating their data between Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp services.

As for Meta, the final proposals by Meta to the Turkish competition watchdog were handled insufficient. The notification screen proposed by Meta for presenting user choices regarding the data consolidation between its services was not considered transparent and satisfactory enough.

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