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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Facebook fined an equivalent of nearly N50bn for Providing 'misleading' Info


European Union antitrust regulators fined Facebook 110 million euros ($122 million, about N50bn) today Thursday for giving misleading information during a vetting of its deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp in 2014. 

Calling it a "proportionate and deterrent fine," the European Commission, which acts as the EU's competition watchdog, said Facebook had said it could not automatically match user accounts on its namesake platform and WhatsApp but two years later launched a service that did exactly that.

"The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook's statements in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users' identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility".


Facebook said in a statement the errors made in its 2014 filings were not intentional and that the Commission had confirmed they had not affected the outcome of the merger review. "Today's announcement brings this matter to a close," Facebook said.

The fine would not reverse the Commission's decision to clear the purchase of WhatsApp and was unrelated to separate investigations into data protection issues, it added. The Commission could have fined Facebook up to 1% of its turnover - which would have been $276 million based on 2016 results - but said that Facebook had cooperated with the proceedings and acknowledged its infringement.

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