Meta to temporarily close Threads platform in Turkey

Social media rival of X is complying with interim order by competition authority banning it and Instagram from sharing data

In response to Turkey's regulations, Meta says it has no choice but to temporarily shut down its Threads platform in the country. EPA
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Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said on Monday that it was temporarily shutting down its Threads social media platform in Turkey from April 29.

This is in order to comply with an interim order from the Turkish Competition Authority.

“The TCA recently issued an interim order prohibiting the sharing of data between Threads and Instagram. We disagree with the interim order … and we will appeal,” said Meta in a statement.

“The TCA’s interim order leaves us with no choice,” the statement continued, while emphasising the company’s plans to “constructively engage” with the authority in hopes of eventually bringing back the social media platform.

The TCA's ruling, first announced in March, prohibited the sharing of data between Threads and Instagram.

Currently, various Threads posts from users on the app can be seen on the Instagram app, in what's widely seen as a way to increase usership and synergy between both platforms operated by Meta.

The Threads app also leverages Instagram by making it a key component for those who want to start using the app, allowing users to instantaneously follow all the accounts on Threads that they already follow on Instagram.

Meta said that while it would be suspending the app's use in Turkey, it still believed it was operating within the country's data laws.

“We disagree with the interim order, we believe we are in compliance with all Turkish legal requirements, and we will appeal,” said the company.

This is not the first time Threads has encountered regulatory issues.

Months after its US debut, Threads was launched in the EU, but only after tweaks were made to the platform to comply with EU’s rules.

Those rules required Meta to somewhat decouple the app from Instagram, and allowed for users to browse Threads content without depending on an existing Instagram account.

The regulatory actions from both the EU and Turkey have argued that the data sharing between Threads and Instagram could lead to a stifling of competition, giving Meta an unfair advantage.

First announced in July of 2023 in the US and largely seen as a competitor to X – formerly Twitter – Threads gained more than 100 million users in less than a week upon its debut.

That download record had been previously set by AI tool ChatGPT, which took two months to cross the 200 million user threshold, according to various data tracking websites.

Meta, at this point no stranger to scrutiny from regulators, has in recent years moved to quickly tweak its various social media offerings.

“People using Threads in Turkey can choose whether to deactivate but not delete their Threads profile, or to delete their profile,” said Meta.

The company said it aimed to minimise disruption for Threads users in Turkey.

“If a person chooses to deactivate their profile, then users’ posts and interactions with other people’s posts will become visible again if Threads returns to Turkey. People with deactivated profiles can download their posts and preserve their existing content through our Download Your Information tool at any time,” said Meta.

Updated: April 15, 2024, 1:53 PM