Facebook fine became third social media’s penalty in Europe within a week
Facebook has been fined by the European Commission for “providing misleading information” during its 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp.
The European Commission called it a “proportionate and deterrent fine”.
European Union’s competition commissioner Margarethe Vestager said that Facebook had falsely claimed it was technically impossible to automatically combine user information from Facebook and WhatsApp, WhatsApp was acquired in 2014 for $22 billion. But just after two years passed Facebook has launched a service that exactly do the same.
In its decision, the Commission said that “the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users’ identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility.”
“Today’s decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“And it imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook. The Commission must be able to take decisions about mergers’ effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts.”
Facebook responded to the fine with its statement published to its website, Facebook claims that “The errors we made in our 2014 filings were not intentional and the Commission has confirmed that they did not impact the outcome of the merger review,”
“Today’s announcement brings this matter to a close.” the statement added.
Previously, Germany ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users in September 2016, and Facebook agreed to suspend data collection on UK WhatsApp users in November of that year.
Last week, WhatsApp was fined €3 million by Italian antitrust authorities for allegedly obliging users to agree to share their personal data with Facebook.