Thursday, March 23, 2023

Turkey: Erdogan’s media office quits WhatsApp due to privacy change | News from Turkey

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The Turkish Presidency will switch to the local BiP app to brief journalists on the controversial new WhatsApp terms of service.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s media office has said it will quit WhatsApp after the messaging app moved to force many of its users to agree to a controversial new privacy policy.

In statements made by WhatsApp on Sunday, presidential officials said the media office would brief reporters through BiP, a unit of Turkish communications company Turkcell, from Monday.

Following WhatsApp’s forced update to its privacy policy this week, users in Turkey objected on Twitter with the hashtag #DeletingWhatsapp.

According to Turkish state media citing Turkcell, BiP gained over 1.12 million users in just 24 hours, with over 53 million users worldwide.

The changes to WhatsApp’s terms and services will take effect on February 8 and allow it to share data with parent company Facebook and its other subsidiaries.

Users must agree to the new terms in order to continue using the app after the deadline.

Ali Taha Koc, head of the Turkish Presidential Office for Digital Transformation, on Saturday criticized WhatsApp’s new terms of service and the exemption from the new data sharing rules for users in the UK and the European Union.

He called on Turks to use “national and local” apps like BiP and Dedi.

“The distinction between EU member countries and others in terms of data privacy is unacceptable! As we mentioned in the Information and Communication Security Directive, applications of foreign origin carry significant data security risks, ”Koc said in a tweet.

“That’s why we need to protect our digital data with local and national software and develop it according to our needs. Let’s not forget that Turkey’s data would stay in Turkey thanks to local and national solutions. “

New rules

The company said the updated terms would allow additional sharing of information between WhatsApp and Facebook and its other apps like Instagram and Messenger, such as contacts and profile data, but not the content of messages that remain encrypted.

Facebook aims to monetize WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact their customers through the platform and sell products to them directly using the service, as they already do in India.

Facebook is under increasing pressure from regulators as it tries to integrate its services.

In 2017, the EU fined the US social media giant € 110 million (then $ 120 million) for providing incorrect and misleading information about its 2014 takeover of WhatsApp regarding the ability to link accounts between departments.

Federal and state regulators in the United States have accused Facebook of using its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram to crush competition and filed antitrust lawsuits last month in an attempt to force the company to divest.

In November, Turkey fined global social media companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, 10 million lire ($ 1.18 million) for failing to comply with a new social media law.

The new law, which came into effect in October, requires platforms with more than one million daily users in Turkey to appoint a responsible representative in Turkish courts, to comply with orders to remove “offensive content Within 48 hours and to store user data in Turkey.


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