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Facebook €110m fine for ‘misleading EU’ on Whatsapp deal

May 18, 2017

Facebook has been fined €110 million by the EU for providing “incorrect or misleading” information on its purchase of WhatsApp in 2014. The European Commission said Facebook had promised it could not automatically match user accounts on its own platform and WhatsApp.  But two years later it launched a service that did exactly that.

The Commission said: “[We] 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.”  However, it added that the fine would not reverse its decision to clear the purchase of WhatsApp and was unrelated to separate investigations into data protection issues.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “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. And it imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook.”

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