European Commission fines Facebook €110 million for misleading or incorrect information

The European Commission has fined Facebook €110 million for giving misleading or incorrect information during Commission’s 2014 vetting of its deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp. It was found that, contrary to Facebook’s statement in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility for automatic users identities’ matching between their Facebook and WhatsApp accounts not only existed in 2014 but also Facebook staff was aware of this. In August 2016, WhatsApp published terms of service and privacy policy updates, which included the possibility of linking users’ phone numbers linked to WhatsApp with Facebook identities. Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner, said that the EC decision is a clear message to companies to comply with European Union merger rules, which also includes the obligation to provide true and correct information.