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The EU’s Competition Regulator says Facebook Misled It In The 2014 WhatsApp Acquisition. Facebook Could Pay A Lot

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It’s been two years since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19b and usually such acquisitions have to be approved not just by American authorities but others where the companies involved have a presence. Facebook certainly did that just as Microsoft recently did with LinkedIn but it looks like the European Union’s competition regulator is not happy with the information provided to it approved the deal. The EU’s regulator says it was misled by Facebook over claims that it could match its users to WhatsApp accounts. While this is highly unlikely to affect the 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, it could however mean that Facebook may face a fine of 1 percent of its total revenue. This comes as WhatsApp announced that it would start sharing its 1 billion user data with its parent company Facebook which has been greeted with resistance from users and nations especially across Europe. You see Facebook had allegedly told European regulators that it didn’t have the technical ability to do what they are now doing. Writing this, it’s almost unbelievable that a regulator would easily believe that though because when you buy a company like WhatsApp and you’re Facebook, you would have access to a new database that you can sell ads to eventually.

Having seen this, European Union’s competition regulator now says it believes it was misled by Facebook. “The commission’s preliminary view is that Facebook gave us incorrect or misleading information during the investigation into its acquisition of WhatsApp,” said competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. They have since made their objections known to Facebook in a statement.

 

Facebook meanwhile responded by saying “We’ve consistently provided accurate information about our technical capabilities and plans, including in submissions about the WhatsApp acquisition and in voluntary briefings before WhatsApp’s privacy policy update this year.”

 

Facebook has until 31st January 2017 to respond.

Image: NBC News

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