EU Fines Facebook for Providing 'Misleading Information' Over WhatsApp

Jay Anderson
May 18, 2017

Facebook must pay a €110 million (US$123 million) for misleading the European Commission during an investigation of its takeover of WhatsApp.

The European Commission on Thursday fined United States social media giant Facebook 110 million euros (US$120 million) for providing incorrect and misleading information on its takeover of WhatsApp, imposing its biggest penalty for such a breach.

According to the merger regulation, the Commission can impose fines of up to 1pc of the aggregated turnover of companies, which intentionally or negligently provide incorrect or misleading information to the Commission.

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There were two separate offences - one when Facebook first notified the European Commission that it wanted to buy WhatsApp and a second when it responded to an EC request for further information. - Margrethe Vestager (vestager) May 18, 2017 The EU has acknowledged that Facebook cooperated with its inquiry and says the outcome of the merger review was not affected. The decision proved controversial with data protection officials around the world investigating whether customer data has been misused.

"We need accurate facts to do our job", commissioner Vestager said on Thursday.

Facebook was slapped with France's maximum privacy fine on Tuesday over other data-protection issues in a concerted clampdown by regulators across Europe.

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The commission could fine the company up to 1% of its world-wide revenue.

The Commission said Facebook claimed it would not be able to match Facebook users' accounts and WhatsApp users' accounts automatically. Using the messaging app's data allows Facebook to target its ads better, boosting profits.

At the time Facebook replied that it was would not be possible to create a reliable system for matching user IDs.

A Facebook spokesperson said: "Today's announcement brings this matter to a close".

As well as privacy investigations, the 2016 deal prompted Vestager, who is head of competition regulations in the European Union, to issue a statement of objections.

Companies are required to provide accurate information to regulators during a merger probe.

Other reports by BadHub

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