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EU fines Facebook €110 million for misleading the Commission during WhatsApp acquisition

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EU fines Facebook €110 million for misleading the Commission during WhatsApp acquisition

In 2014, during the acquisition process of WhatsApp, Facebook informed the EU Commission that it was not able to establish automated matching between the users’ accounts of the two services. However, in 2016 WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy to include the possibility of linking WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with Facebook accounts.

The Commission has now concluded that in 2014 Facebook was aware of the technical possibility of matching the users’ data. In the Commission’s statement, Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition policy, said the decision is “a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules”.

According to Reuters, Facebook said its faulty claims in 2014 were not intentional. The fine has no impact on the Commission’s authorisation of the Facebook–WhatsApp merger, as the Commission at the time took into account the possibility of user matching.

Earlier this week, France’s data protection regulator fined Facebook €150,000 for data privacy violations and use of user data for advertising.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2017-05-18 11:52

Author information

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