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WhatsAppocalypse saga resolved: WhatsApp waves white flag in Turkey

May 2021 – The on-going dispute between the Turkish Competition Authority and social media giant Facebook over the terms of use of its subsidiary, WhatsApp, has finally come to an end.

According to the official press release on the Facebook-WhatsApp investigation published by the Competition Board on 21 May 2021, WhatsApp has informed the Board that the disputed terms of use and privacy policy update[1] will not come into effect for any user in Turkey, including for users who previously gave their approval.

The Board had previously issued an interim measure against Facebook and WhatsApp to prevent serious and irreparable harm to consumers located in Turkey using its powers under Article 9 of Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition and also recently requested information from WhatsApp within the scope of its investigation. The Board made its announcement following receipt of the requested information and documents. It is clear that the determined stance of the Board against the update caused WhatsApp to wave the white flag and take a step backwards. As a result, WhatsApp has stated that its new privacy policy will not take effect in Turkey.

For more detailed information regarding the stages of the “WhatsAppocalypse” saga, please see our previous articles here and here.

An article by Bulut Girgin, Counsel (bgirgin@gentemizerozer.com), Merve Öner Kabadayı, Associate (moner@gentemizerozer.com), and Keçeli, Ertuğrul, Legal Trainee (ekeceli@gentemizerozer.com).

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[1] The disputed update included (i) the usage of data collected by WhatsApp within other markets where Facebook operates, and (ii) making it mandatory for the users of WhatsApp in Turkey to consent to the relevant terms.