EU fines Facebook over misleading information

AFP EU fines Facebook 110 mn euros over'misleading info in Whats App takeover

AFP EU fines Facebook 110 mn euros over'misleading info in Whats App takeover

The Executive's Competition Commission said Facebook insisted on two separate occasions that it could not establish a reliable automated match between user accounts of both platforms.

The social media giant told the European Union that in its takeover of messaging app Whatsapp, they would not be able to match user accounts on both platforms but went on to carry out exactly that, linking Whatsapp numbers to Facebook users'.

The filing errors made during 2014 were in no way intentional, the EC confirmed that it did not affect the merger review's outcome and the announcement by the EC brings the matter to a close. Facebook acquired popular messaging application WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.

The EC added today the misleading information had no impact on its decision to give the green light to the merger, but said in this case, it had been "negligent".

The Commission said that Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, knowing full well that it could utilise data by merging user accounts.

The European Commission said the United States social network inaccurately claimed it would be unable to combine user data between the two companies' accounts.

The second time was in December 2016 after the Commission had submitted a Statement of Objections, following Facebook's update.

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The European Commission said it hopes that the fine will send a message to companies that they must comply with regulations or risk fines.

Italian antitrust authorities levied a €3 million fine on WhatsApp last week for allegedly obliging users to agree to share their personal data with Facebook.

But two years later it launched a service that did just that.

But it said that Facebook had cooperated with the proceedings and acknowledged its infringement.

This week, French regulator, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, slapped Facebook with a $164,000 fine for running afoul of the country's data protection rules.

A year ago a Whatsapp update used information such as phone numbers and phone models to establish links between profiles, allowing it to target adverts and improve Facebook friend suggestions.

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