Facebook-parent Meta Platforms Inc was issued on Wednesday a 346.72 million lira ($18.63 million) fine by Turkey’s competition authority for breaking competition law, the watchdog statement said.
The Turkish Competition Authority (RK), the government agency for regulating competitive processes in the markets, underscored that Meta broke the Turkish competition law’s article 6.
RK explained in its statement that by merging data collected through its core services Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Meta Platforms obstructed competitors and held a dominant position in personal social networking services and online video advertising markets.
Noting that the issued fine was based on Meta Platforms’ 2021 income, Turkey’s competition authority said that in addition to the fine, the company must also act to reinstate competition in these markets and prepare annual reports about the steps it will take for the next five years.
A spokesperson for Meta Platforms Inc said on Wednesday that they did not agree with the findings of the Turkish competition authority and that the company will consider all options, stressing that Meta Platforms protect user privacy and provide users with transparency and control over their data.
The company could object to the decision within 60 days.
Turkey’s competition authority initially launched an investigation into WhatsApp, and then Facebook Inc. in 2021, after the users of the messaging app were asked to allow Facebook to collect user data – such as phone numbers and locations – in a change that Meta Platforms Inc rolled out globally.
Turkey, which adopted last week a law that envisages jailing journalists and social media users for up to three years for spreading disinformation, has long had into its focus of attention social media companies that, according to analysts, are unlikely to abide in full by the new law which also requires them to and share user data with authorities on top of removing “disinformation” content.