Competition Board's Interim Measure Decision on WhatsApp has been published

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Competition Board’s (“Board”) interim measure decision within the scope of investigation initiated against Facebook Inc., Facebook Ireland Ltd., WhatsApp Inc. and WhatsApp LLC (all together as “Facebook”), dated 11.01.2021 and numbered 21-02/25-M, regarding the obligations imposed on WhatsApp users to share data, has been published.

As it is known, WhatsApp users have recently been informed that WhatsApp’s terms of use and privacy policy will be updated. Users were informed that in order for them to proceed with using WhatsApp, they had to consent to sharing of their WhatsApp data with Facebook companies, otherwise, they would not be able to use WhatsApp as of February 8, 2021.

Upon its examination, the Board in its interim measure decision evaluated that WhatsApp users share data which includes private information and trade secrets, in small groups and therefore Whatsapp data is confidential and of a nature that people would not want to share with a wider environment. In this context, the Board stated that the use of the WhatsApp data in other markets where Facebook operates and making this mandatory for the use of WhatsApp will cause various competition law concerns.

In addition, Board stated that given the market power of Facebook in (i) consumer communication services, (ii) social networking services, and (iii) online advertising services markets, the obligation is likely to result in serious and irreparable harm until the final decision of the investigation and therefore Board decided that

  • Facebook will cease the conditions regarding the use of WhatsApp users' data for other services in Turkey as of February 8, 2021,
  • Facebook shall notify all users who accepted or disagreed with these conditions that new conditions involving data sharing have been ceased.
  • You may access Turkish version of the full text of Board decision here.

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