The European Union has fined Facebook 110 million (94 million; $122 million) for providing misleading information about its 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp.
In a press release, the European Commission said when Facebook informed it of the takeover it had said it would be unable to “establish reliable automated matching” between Facebook and WhatsApp user accounts.
However, in 2016 WhatsApp offered exactly that the possibility of linking user phone numbers with Facebook user IDs.
Todays 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, said the EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.
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 said in a statement the errors were not intentional, that it “acted in good faith” throughout with the EU office and “sought to provide accurate information at every turn.”
The European Commission can impose fines of up to 1% of the aggregated turnover of companies, which would have been more than twice the size of the amount Facebook has been told to pay.
However, it took into account the company’s cooperation with the investigation.
The Commission’s fine isn’t related to national antitrust inquiries.
On Tuesday, a French data watchdog fined Facebook around $167,000 for violating the French Data Protection Act which prevents users’ data from being accessed by advertisers, according to a May 16 statement.
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