Turkey competition board fines $18.63 mn on Meta for violating laws

Turkey’s Competition Authority announced Wednesday that it had fined Meta Platforms Inc. 346.72 million liras ($18.63 million) for violating competition law.

The Turkish regulator said the company held a dominant position in personal social networking services and online video advertising and had obstructed competitors by merging data collected through its core services Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Reuters quoted a Meta Platforms spokesperson saying that the company disagrees with the findings and will consider all options. The competition authority has said that Meta must act to reinstate competition in these markets. It has also asked Meta to prepare annual reports about steps it will take for the next five years.

The Turkish action is also of note because Germany’s competition regulator has had a similar concern for years.

The company held a dominant position in personal social networking services, consumer communication services and online video advertising markets, the watchdog noted.

It said the fine was based on the company’s 2021 income and the company could object to the decision within 60 days.

WhatsApp groups created by Turkey’s public institutions moved to the local messaging apps after the privacy policy update.

Analysts have said social media companies are unlikely to abide in full by the law, that requires them to remove such material and to share user data with authorities.

The Turkish government has been tightening its regulations on social media companies over the past few years.

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