ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s Competition Board said on Friday it had been informed by WhatsApp that it would not implement a messaging app update in Turkey allowing it and owner Facebook Inc to collect certain user data, after the board launched an investigation.
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 and a probe by the Competition Board.
“WhatsApp conveyed to us that the update in question involving data sharing would not be imposed on any users in Turkey, including those who approved it,” the board said in a statement.
WhatsApp’s move had caused many to migrate to other messaging apps like Turkey’s domestic BiP, a unit of Turkcell, Signal and Telegram.
Turkey’s government has imposed new restrictions and fines on social media companies since it passed a law in July it says bolsters local oversight of the 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.
(Reporting by Ebru Tuncay; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler, William Maclean)