Turkish officials announced that popular social media website Facebook is being investigated over complaints of a data security breach and there will be legal action if found violating laws on processing personal data.
Faruk Bilir, head of the newly founded state-run Agency for Protection of Personal Data, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that an investigation into Facebook was "expanded" over allegations of data security violations. "If we find out violations of laws regarding processing our citizens' personal data, there will be legal consequences," Bilir said.
In parallel with its growth, Facebook is being increasingly questioned about the privacy of its users. Earlier this month, the company announced that hackers accessed the personal data of 29 million users in a breach that exploited software flaws. The company also acknowledged earlier that tens of millions of users had their personal data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used them to influence voters in the 2016 U.S. elections.
The Turkish agency has authority to launch investigations into violation of laws on personal data and started preliminary proceedings against Facebook to examine whether the company sufficiently informs Turkish users in the processing of their data and whether it complies with Turkish laws. He said the probe was expanded over data security breach allegations. "We act sensibly to protect Turkish citizens' personal online data," he said. "We protect the personal data in line with international standards and in case of a breach, sanctions under Turkish laws will be imposed on the website," he said. The sanctions he refers to cover various penalties, from monetary fines to suspension of data processing activities of the website in Turkey.