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Turkey imposes $140,000 fines on WhatsApp, Meta for failing to appoint local contact person

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Turkey’s Personal Data Protection Authority (KVKK) has imposed a fine of TL 2,650,000 (approximately $140,000) each on WhatsApp and Meta for failing to register with the Data Controllers Registry Information System (VERBİS), the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Article 16 of the Turkish Data Protection Law (Law no. 6698), which entered into force in April 2016, requires registration of all data controllers in VERBİS.

Data controllers — who determine the purposes for which and the means by which personal data is processed — headquartered abroad are also obliged to register with the system if they process personal data in Turkey. The Turkish government requires that international companies appoint a contact person in the country in order to meet this obligation.

According to Anadolu the authority had initiated an investigation into WhatsApp and Meta and asked them to complete the registration process in 30 days.

In October Turkey’s competition authority fined Meta $18.63 million for violating the competition law. The company held a dominant position in personal social networking services and online video advertising and had obstructed competitors by merging data collected through its core services Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the Turkish authority said in a statement.

Social media companies have been a focus of attention in Turkey, which adopted a law last year that allows jailing journalists and social media users for up to three years for spreading material deemed “disinformation.”

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