EU slaps Facebook with $122M fine over WhatsApp purchase

EU slaps Facebook with $122M fine over WhatsApp purchase
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The European Union announced on Thursday that it would fine Facebook $122 million for providing what it called "misleading information" about the social media's purchase of WhatsApp.

The executive arm of the EU, The European Commission, charged that Facebook gave it incorrect information during a 2014 investigation of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company’s purchase of the messaging app WhatsApp.

“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,” said European Commission of Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

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“And 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."

The Commission specifically took issue with Facebook’s claim that it would not be able to reliably, automatically link users’ accounts between Facebook and WhatsApp. In 2016, WhatsApp unveiled this capability, with the Commission determining that user accounts could be linked as far back as 2014.

The Commission ultimately approved the acquisition in 2014.

“We’ve acted in good faith since our very first interactions with the Commission and we’ve sought to provide accurate information at every turn,” Facebook said in a statement.

“The errors we made in our 2014 filings were not intentional and the Commission has confirmed that they did not impact the outcome of the merger review.”

The is the first time the Commission has enforced such a fine since it established new merger regulations in 2014.