Tags: WhatsApp | Facebook | European | Commission

FT: EU Could Fine Facebook $125M for Misleading Info in WhatsApp Buy

FT: EU Could Fine Facebook $125M for Misleading Info in WhatsApp Buy

President Barack Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 December 2016 10:31 AM

Facebook could be fined up to $125 million by the European Commission – one percent of yearly revenue – if the social media giant is found to have given incorrect or misleading information relating to approval it won to purchase the WhatsApp messenger service in 2014, the Financial Times reported.

Facebook, the EC claimed, told regulators before the purchase it would not be able to merge user data information. But a WhatsApp privacy policy change in August said it would link users' phone numbers with Facebook user identities, prompting complaints from users, rivals and regulators.

"These are serious allegations," Agustin Reyna of the European consumer advocate group BEUC told Bloomberg News. "If Facebook provided misleading information about its ability to match Facebook and WhatsApp accounts, it basically blocked the commission from checking the implications of data of this merger. This is unacceptable and sheds a bad light on the company's readiness to respect consumers' privacy."

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said companies should take the obligation to provide the commission with accurate information seriously.

"Contrary to Facebook's statements and reply during the merger review, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook users' IDs with WhatsApp users' IDs already existed in 2014," she wrote in a statement. "At this stage, the Commission therefore has concerns that Facebook intentionally, or negligently, submitted incorrect or misleading information to the Commission, in breach of its obligations under the EU Merger Regulation."

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Facebook could be fined up to $125 million by the European Commission – one percent of yearly revenue – if the social media giant is found to have given incorrect or misleading information relating to approval it won to purchase the WhatsApp messenger service in 2014, the Financial Times reported.
WhatsApp, Facebook, European, Commission
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2016-31-21
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 10:31 AM
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