Erdogan’s press office ditches WhatsApp as Ankara urges Turks to use domestic apps in fight against ‘digital fascism’

The media office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reportedly shutting down its WhatsApp groups over privacy concerns. The move comes after Ankara called for a nationwide boycott of the Facebook-owned messaging app

Erdogan’s press office ditches WhatsApp as Ankara urges Turks to use domestic apps in fight against ‘digital fascism’

The media office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reportedly shutting down its WhatsApp groups over privacy concerns. The move comes after Ankara called for a nationwide boycott of the Facebook-owned messaging app.

Starting on Monday, the office is switching over to encrypted messaging app BiP, which is developed by Turkish firm Turkcell, Bloomberg reported, citing internal messages posted to the WhatsApp groups. 

The decision comes amid growing consternation over WhatsApp’s plan to begin sharing personal data with its parent company, Facebook. The policy comes into effect on February 8, and users who refuse the new terms will not be able to access their accounts on the messaging platform. 

The updated user terms have been met with hostility by the Turkish government, which has used privacy issues to promote homegrown apps and internet services. 

Ali Taha Koc, head of the presidency’s Digital Transformation Office, released a statement on Saturday in which he warned that foreign-made applications “contain significant risks to data security.” He urged Turkish citizens to switch over to “local and national software,” claiming the move would help Turkey safeguard its data.