Meta Shuts Down Threads in Turkey to Comply with an Injunction Banning Data Sharing with Instagram | TechCrunch - Latest Global News

Meta Shuts Down Threads in Turkey to Comply with an Injunction Banning Data Sharing with Instagram | TechCrunch

Meta has said it plans to “temporarily” shut down Threads in Turkey starting April 29, in response to an injunction the Turkish Competition Authority issued last month over the way Meta shares data between Threads and Instagram exchanges.

The Turkish Competition Authority (TCA), known as Rekabet Kurumu, released findings on March 18, noting that its investigations found that Meta abused its market dominance by sharing the data of users who created Threads profiles with theirs Instagram account combined – without giving the user the option to log in.

This is the latest in a long series of regulatory battles that Meta has faced in the European region after the company was fined $267 million for WhatsApp GDPR violations in the European Union (EU). and at the same time was forced to sell its $400 million Giphy acquisition to Shutterstock for $53 million, citing that the deal reduced competition.

Connecting data

Of greater significance to today’s news, however, was when Turkey fined Meta $18.6 million in 2022 for combining user data on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. In January this year, the Turkish TCA announced that it would impose an additional fine of $160,000 per day on Meta for failing to comply with the previous order. The TCA argued that a notice Meta sent to users about its data sharing practices was inadequate and lacked transparency.

So this latest skirmish is not entirely without precedent.

For comparison: Facebook’s sister company Instagram launched threads last summer, primarily to benefit from the exodus of Twitter users following the controversial takeover of Elon Musk. Although Threads now has a reported 130 million users, there is ongoing criticism of the way it forces users to create an Instagram account in order to get a Threads profile.

Initially, Meta only allowed users to delete a Threads profile by deleting their entire Instagram account. However, a separate deletion mechanism was later introduced for those who only wanted to delete their Threads profile. As part of its regulatory compliance measures for the delayed EU launch of Threads, Meta introduced a “view without profile” feature to the EU market last year, giving users limited access to the social network without having to create an account .

Meanwhile, Turkish regulators in December announced a new investigation into the way Meta linked Threads to Instagram, concluding last month that there was a strong case to do so. In its preliminary report, the TCA wrote:

  • Since META has been active on the market for many years, the company has a comprehensive and detailed database.

  • The size and diversity of the META user base makes META services attractive to advertisers.

  • This situation allows META to allocate more resources to service development and makes it difficult for competitors to access advertisers and therefore financial resources. In this context, META’s activities represent a barrier to market entry.

  • In addition, META functions as an ecosystem with the basic services and related services it offers, which allows META to transfer the power and knowledge it gains from each service to another service and increase its market power.

And that leads us to today’s announcement that Meta Threads will be withdrawing, at least temporarily, pending further discussions and legal resolution between the two parties.

“We disagree with the interim order, believe we are complying with all of Turkey’s legal requirements, and will appeal,” Meta wrote in a blog post today. “The TCA’s injunction leaves us no choice but to temporarily close Threads in Türkiye. We will continue to work constructively with the TCA and hope to make Threads available to the people of Türkiye again as soon as possible.”

Until April 29, anyone using Threads in Turkey will receive a notification of the impending closure and will have the option to either delete or deactivate their profile. The latter of these options means that a user’s profile can be restored if threads are restored in Turkey.

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