Washington: Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has been fined TRY 346.72 million (roughly Rs. 153 crore) or the equivalent of $18.63 million, for breaking competition law, it said on Wednesday. The company held a dominant position in personal social networking services and online video advertising markets and obstructed competitors by merging data collected through the company’s core services Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the Turkish authority said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Meta said on Wednesday that they did not agree with the findings of the Turkish competition authority. The spokesperson said Meta protects user privacy and provides people with transparency and control over their data, adding that the company ‘will consider all options’. Turkey’s competition authority said Meta must act to reinstate competition in these markets and prepare annual reports about the steps it will take for the next five years, the authority said. It said the fine was based on the company’s 2021 income.
In 2021, the competition authority launched an investigation into WhatsApp, and then Facebook, after the messaging app asked users to agree to let Facebook collect user data such as phone numbers and locations, a change that was rolled out globally. Social media companies have been a focus of attention in Turkey, which adopted a law last week that would jail journalists and social media users for up to three years for spreading ‘disinformation’. Analysts have said social media companies are unlikely to abide in full by the law that requires them to remove ‘disinformation’ content and share user data with authorities.