Facebook Is Fined 110m Euro By European Regulators For “Misleading” It In The 2014 WhatsApp Acquisition

European regulators have fined Facebook 110m euros as part of its December 2016 report that Facebook may have misled it in the WhatsApp $19b acquisition. The 110m euros comes after regulators in Europe gave Facebook until 31st January 2017 to respond and apparently Facebook responded but it wasn’t satisfactory.

Facebook had said back in 2014 that it could not easily match its users to WhatsApp accounts but now it looks like Facebook is doing just that. In a statement today by Europe’s competition office led by its chief Margrethe Vestager,

“When Facebook notified the acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, it informed the Commission that it would be unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts. It stated this both in the notification form and in a reply to a request of information from the Commission. However, in August 2016, WhatsApp announced updates to its terms of service and privacy policy, including the possibility of linking WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with Facebook users’ identities.”

She went on to say that “The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook’s statements in the 2014 merger review process, 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,”

As big companies do, Facebook accepted it but maintained that it acted in good faith. “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”

While the close may be closed in much of Europe, American authorities are still looking into and could very well come up with a fine too.

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