(Reuters) – The Turkish Competition Board said on Monday it launched an investigation into WhatsApp and its owner Facebook Inc after the messaging app asked users to agree to let Facebook collect user data including phone numbers and locations.
In a written statement, the Competition Board said it ruled the data-collection requirement should be suspended until the probe is complete.
“The Competition Board has opened an investigation into Facebook and WhatsApp and suspended the requirement to share Whatsapp data,” it said.
WhatsApp updated its terms of service last Wednesday, allowing Facebook and its subsidiaries to collect user data. The deadline for agreeing to the new terms is Feb. 8.
Rival messaging apps Signal and Telegram have since seen a sudden increase in demand.
Turkey’s government has targeted social media companies with new restrictions and fines since it passed a law in July it says bolsters local oversight of the foreign firms. Critics say the law stifles dissent from Turks who resorted to online platforms after the government tightened its grip on mainstream media.
Reporting by Ebru Tuncay; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer