South Africa Sues Meta, WhatsApp, See Why

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South Africa’s Competition Commission says U.S.-based tech giant, Meta (previously known as Facebook), via its subsidiary WhatsApp, is abusing its dominance.

According to a report from local publication News24, the commission now wants the Competition Tribunal to impose its “maximum penalty” – a fine of 10 percent of the U.S. social media giant’s local turnover.

It has referred Meta, WhatsApp and Facebook South Africa to the Tribunal for prosecution.

The commission found that Meta was abusing its market dominance by threatening to remove GovChat from its WhatsApp Business Application Programming Interface (WhatsApp Business API).

South Africa Sues Meta, WhatsApp

The commission asked the Tribunal to interdict the groups from removing GovChat from the WhatsApp Business API and to declare void certain exclusionary terms and conditions for access to the WhatsApp Business API.

The commission found that WhatsApp wanted imposed exclusionary terms and conditions, mainly restrictions on the use of data, on GovChat.

GovChat was launched in 2018 and allows citizens to report potholes and other service delivery issues with national, provincial, and local authorities. It also sends information about COVID-19 system tracking, testing and vaccination, as well as providing online applications for social relief and distress grants.