Türkiye slaps Meta with multimillion-dollar fine
Türkiye’s competition watchdog has issued an $18.63 million fine to Facebook’s parent company, Meta. It found that the merging of user data from Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram gave Meta an unfair advantage in advertising.
The fine was decided last week and announced in a statement on Wednesday. By combining data collected from all of its subsidiaries, the statement explained, Meta “dominates” the online advertising market and “creates barriers to entry” for its competitors.
An investigation was launched in 2021 after WhatsApp asked users to allow Facebook to collect their data. Even before this global change to data collection was rolled out, Facebook was sued by the US Federal Trade Commission over its acquisition of WhatsApp and investigated by the EU and UK for using its vast data trove to give its own Facebook Marketplace and unfair edge over the competition.
The Turkish fine of 346.72 million lira, or $18.63 million, was decided based on Meta’s 2021 income. The watchdog also ordered Meta to restore competition to its markets, and to prepare annual reports on what it will do to ensure competitiveness for the next five years.
Meta has 60 days to appeal the fine, and a spokesperson for the company told Reuters on Wednesday that it will “consider all options.”
Meta reported a profit of $46.7 billion in 2021, and as such can easily weather an $18.63 million fine. However, the firm reported its first ever decline in quarterly revenue – a 1% drop – in July, as well as a 36% decline in profit from a year earlier. With much of his wealth tied up in Meta stock, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has lost $71 billion from his personal fortune so far this year.