Several years ago Facebook announced that they would be acquiring WhatsApp in what was one of the biggest tech buyouts in recent history. There were some concerns raised at that time regarding the sharing of data between WhatsApp and Facebook, with Facebook reportedly telling the European Commission that they would be unable to reliably automate the sharing of data.

It turns out that was not the case, or at least that’s what the European Commission has decided as they have since levied a €110 million fine against the company for intentionally misleading officials. As you might have heard, especially if you’re a WhatsApp user, back in 2016 Facebook announced an update to its terms of service in which it could link the phone numbers of WhatsApp users to their Facebook profile, something that the EC has taken issue with and filed a Statement of Objection several months later.

According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, “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. 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.”

Facebook has since responded with a statement of their own which reads, “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. 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. Today’s announcement brings this matter to a close.”

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