Turkey’s Antitrust Authority has fined Twitter 0.1% of its 2022 revenue after it failed to get approval for a $44 billion takeover by Elon Musk. According to the regulator, Musk and Twitter have violated Turkey’s competition rules by failing to obtain approval from the antitrust authority. Musk has 60 days to appeal the decision.
The exact amount Twitter will have to pay is unclear as the company is now privately held and no longer publicly discloses its earnings. The company reported gross profits of over $5 billion in 2021 and profits of $2.37 billion for the first half of 2022 prior to Musk’s acquisition. Twitter’s revenue has reportedly declined sharply since the acquisition, with The company’s most recent gross margin for December 2022 fell by more than 40% compared to the same period last year.
The fine comes as a result of another standoff between Twitter and Turkish authorities, who recently blocked the company’s website after locals used the platform to criticize the government’s response to the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people. Access to the platform was eventually restored as the company agreed, according to Turkish government officials “close cooperation” against disinformation and to filter content that may “Disruption of public order”. The concessions Twitter had to make are not reported.
The mask that calls itself “Absolutist of Freedom of Speech”, does not oppose attempts by authoritarian leaders to remove content from the platform. The billionaire said last month that social media companies should allow free speech “the lowest legally permissible level of censorship, which varies widely by jurisdiction, rather than trying to put a thumbs up on the ban scale”.