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Turkey Opens Investigation Into Facebook’s Move to Collect WhatsApp User Data

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Turkey is just one of the countries that are not happy with WhatsApp’s new policy.

According to Bloomberg, the Turkish Competition Board said on Monday it launched an investigation into WhatsApp and its owner Facebook after the messaging app asked users to agree to let Facebook collect user data including phone numbers and locations.

In a written statement, the Competition Board said it ruled the data-collection requirement should be suspended until the probe is complete.

“The Competition Board has opened an investigation into Facebook and WhatsApp and suspended the requirement to share Whatsapp data,” it said.

WhatsApp updated its terms of service last Wednesday, allowing Facebook and its subsidiaries to collect user data. But the instant messaging platform says that nothing will change when it comes to consumer chats, i.e., for WhatsApp accounts not used for business purposes. The deadline for agreeing to the new terms is February 8.

On Saturday, Ali Taha Koc, head of the Turkish Presidential Digital Transformation Office, criticized WhatsApp’s new terms of services and the exemption from the new data-sharing rules for users in the United Kingdom and the European Union.

He called on Turks to use “national and local” apps such as BiP and Dedi.

“The distinction between EU member countries and others in terms of data privacy is unacceptable! As we have cited in the Information and Communication Security Guideline, foreign origin applications bear significant risks regarding data security,” Koc said in a tweet.

“That’s why we need to protect our digital data with local and national software and develop them in line with our needs. Let’s not forget that Turkey’s data would stay in Turkey thanks to local and national solutions.”

Turkey’s government has targeted social media companies with new restrictions and fines since it passed a law in July it says bolsters local oversight of the foreign firms. Critics say the law stifles dissent from Turks who resorted to online platforms after the government tightened its grip on mainstream media.

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