Country's Competition Board said it had ruled that the requirement to allow the collection of that data should be suspended until the probe is complete.

This file photo taken on October 5, 2020 shows the logo of US social network Facebook and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet.
This file photo taken on October 5, 2020 shows the logo of US social network Facebook and mobile messaging service WhatsApp on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet. (AFP Archive)

The Turkish Competition Board has launched an investigation into WhatsApp and its owner Facebook after the messaging app forced users to either agree to let Facebook collect user data including phone numbers and locations or have their accounts deleted.

In a written statement, the Competition Board said it ruled that the requirement to allow the collection of that data 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.

The authority suspended the data sharing, even if users accepted rules, due to the potential for irreparable losses, until the conclusion of the investigation.

In this context, Facebook too must suspend data sharing and announce its move to all users, the statement said.

READ MORE: Turkish WhatsApp users quit app as demand spikes for other options

New privacy policy

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 February 8.

After popular messaging app WhatsApp forced many users to agree to new privacy rules, a large number of people have started to seek alternatives for their smartphones.

Rival messaging apps Signal and Telegram have since seen a sudden increase in demand.

Turkish Presidency's Communications Office and the country's defence ministry are also moving their chat groups from WhatsApp to a locally-developed messaging app BiP.

Source: Reuters