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Facebook hit with €110 million fine in Europe over WhatsApp acquisition

The European Commission has fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during its merger with WhatsApp.

Published onMay 18, 2017

Facebook has been hit with a large fine. The European Commission ordered Facebook to pay €110 million (around $122 million) for providing incorrect or misleading information during the acquisition of WhatsApp.

Back in 2014, the company informed the Commission that it would be unable to link the profiles of users on WhatsApp and Facebook. However, that all changed in 2016 when WhatsApp updated its privacy policy and started linking users’ phone numbers with Facebook users’ identities.

The Commission has now come to a conclusion that not only did the technical possibility of automatically matching the identities of Facebook and WhatsApp users exist in 2014, but also that Facebook was well aware of it. As the company provided misleading information on this topic, it now has to open its wallet and pay up.

EU tech companies accusing Google, Apple, and Facebook of unfair business practices

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that this decision is a clear sign to companies that they have to comply with the European merger rules, or else they can expect consequences. She also added that the Commission has to get accurate information in order to make a decision about the effects a merger or an acquisition could have on the competition.

Facebook has also released a statement on its website. The company claims that the errors made in the fillings were not intentional and that they did not impact the outcome of the merger review. This has been confirmed by the Commission, which said that its decision to fine Facebook has no impact on the approval of the acquisition from October 2014.

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