WhatsApp drops data collection update for Turkish users
Turkey's Competition Authority on May 21 said that WhatsApp will not implement its data privacy update for Turkish users, after the messaging platform faced an investigation in the country. In January, WhatsApp updated its terms of service, allowing Facebook and its subsidiaries to collect user data such as phone numbers and locations, triggering a backlash in Turkey.
Turkey's Competition Authority on May 21 announced that WhatsApp will not require Turkish users to accept its new terms and conditions for using the app.
“We have been notified [by WhatsApp] that the update in question will not take effect for any of the users in Turkey, including the ones who have already approved of it [the update],” RTÜK said in a statement.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp's updated terms of service raised eyebrows in Turkey, with several users saying they will no longer use the app.
The company laid out fresh terms on Jan. 6, asking users to agree to let owner Facebook Inc and its subsidiaries collect user data, including their phone number and location. It said that the users must accept the changes or see their access to the service cut off.
In the face of this move, the Competition Authority as well as the Personal Data Protection Authority (KVKK) each launched an investigation into the messaging platform.
Rival messaging apps Signal and Telegram have since seen a sudden increase in demand.
The Turkish government has imposed new restrictions and fines on social media companies since it passed a law in July it says bolsters local oversight of foreign firms. Critics, however, say the law stifles dissent from Turks who have moved to online platforms as Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.