Health Care

EU Fines Facebook $122 Million Over Acquisition of WhatsApp

EU Fines Facebook $122 Million Over Acquisition of WhatsApp

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

In 2014, Facebook told the European commission that upon taking over the messaging service, it would not be able to match user accounts on the two platforms.

This week, French regulator the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés slapped Facebook with a US$164,000 fine for running afoul of the country's data protection rules. Yet, the fine indicates that European authorities are expanding their examination of Facebook similarly as it winds up noticeably one of the biggest innovation organizations on the planet.

The social media behemoth gave misleading information at the time it took over WhatsApp in 2014 said the European Commission.

On 18 May 2017, the Commission concluded that, contrary to Facebook's submissions during the Commission's merger control review of the Transaction, 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.

The Commission's Euro 110 million fine on Facebook for breach of its procedural obligations under the European Union merger control rules underscores the need to submit full, accurate and reliable information during the Commission's merger control review process. "Several cases that will start coming", Gry Hasselbalch, co-founder of Data Ethics, told Al Jazeera.

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"Normally, we don't know how our data is used".

The Commission's issue centers around the US social networking giant linking Facebook accounts to WhatsApp user identities. "This decision shows it is actually a problem".

In its defense, Facebook said that it had acted in compliance with common decency in its agreement with Europe's antitrust authorities, and that it would not request the monetary punishment.

Facebook said in a statement the errors made in its 2014 filings were not intentional and that the Commission had confirmed they had not affected the outcome of the merger review.

In this context, the fine on Facebook reiterates that the Commission is keeping a very close eye on whether companies are complying with the procedural rules, and serves as a stern reminder for merging parties (and indeed intervening third parties) of the need to provide accurate and reliable information to the Commission.


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