Turkey’s competition authority fines Meta Platforms $18.6 million

Turkey’s competition authority fines Meta Platforms $18.6 million
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The fine came just a week after Turkey’s national assembly passed a new law that require social media companies to remove “false news” from their content and share user data with authorities

Turkey's competition board has fined Facebook parent Meta Platforms $18.63 million for breaking competition law, the board announced on Wednesday just a week after Turkish national assembly passed a law that brought jail sentences up to three years for social media users who disseminate “false news.”

Meta 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, the Turkish authority said in a statement.

The 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.

In 2021, the competition authority launched an investigation into WhatsApp, and then Facebook Inc., 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.

A spokesperson for Meta Platforms said the company disagrees with the probe's findings.

The spokesperson said Meta Platforms protect user privacy and provide people with transparency and control over their data, adding that the company "will consider all options".

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 material deemed "disinformation".

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