South Africa's Competition Commission on Monday, March 14, said it had referred Facebook and WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms to a tribunal for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the market.
In a statement, the regulator accused Meta of "abusing its dominance by engaging in exclusionary conduct geared at preventing competitors or potential competitors from entering into, participating, and expanding in a market".
The Commission said Meta had decided to "offboard" GovChat (a start-up that connects government and citizens) and its subsidiary #LetsTalk from its WhatsApp Business Application Programming Interface.
WhatsApp defended its exclusion of GovChat, saying that the start-up was not complying with Meta's terms of service.
According to the Commission's press release, it expects the Tribunal “to impose a maximum penalty against Meta Platforms, WhatsApp and Facebook South Africa which is 10% of their collective turnover, to interdict Facebook from off-boarding GovChat from the WhatsApp Business API and to declare void certain exclusionary terms and conditions for access to the WhatsApp Business API”.