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WhatsApp refuses to apply new data-sharing rules in Turkey amid public outcry

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The Turkish competition watchdog announced on Friday that it has been notified by WhatsApp that the company will not implement a controversial new privacy policy for users in Turkey.

The update “will not come into effect for any user in Turkey, including users who approved it,” WhatsApp told Turkey’s Competition Board.

WhatsApp updated its terms of service in January, allowing its owner Facebook and its subsidiaries to collect user data that would allow for more targeted advertisements.

The changes had led to an uproar in Turkey, with users, concerned about the possible sharing of their personal information, downloading alternative messaging applications such as Signal, Telegram or the Turkish app Bip, which was developed by mobile phone operator Turkcell. Many chose to close down their WhatsApp accounts even though the messaging app had assured that the content of messages would remain encrypted.

In the meantime the Competition Board launched an investigation into WhatsApp and Facebook to determine whether Article 6 of Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition has been violated with the new obligation introduced by WhatsApp.

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