Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for a record USD 19.3 billion. At the time of the merger, Facebook had told that it will not use WhatsApp data for any purpose.
During merger, Facebook didn’t inform the European Union that such a thing could happen in the future. Nor did it inform that the technology to do this was available then too. And as such, this is a breach of European Union’s Regulation of Mergers.
The commission can impose a maximum penalty of 1 % of the total turnover of the companies for providing false information and Facebook has been fined USD 122 million for this. This is a very paltry sum for a company as large as Facebook which earns tens of billions of USD from advertising. But nonetheless, it is a step in right direction towards protecting user privacy.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of the competition was quoted saying “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.”
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Source: European Commission