European Commission fined Facebook Inc. for providing false and misleading information over WhatsApp deal. The commission fined social networking site as much as 110 million euros.
European Commission fined Facebook
On Thursday, 18th May 2017 the organization decided to punish Facebook. The social networking giant provided misleading information on the WahtsApp deal in 2014. European Commission works as the European Union’s competition watchdog. The commission claims Facebook said that it couldn’t automatically match user accounts on namesake platform and WahtsApp. Nevertheless, not keeping the words after two years Facebook launched a service which is a violation of law.
After imposing the Commission’s biggest penalty Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner asserted that “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”. The commissioner further said, “the Commission must be able to take decisions about mergers’ effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts”.
Regarding the fine European Commission wrote for the press, “According to the Merger Regulation, the Commission can impose fines of up to 1% of the aggregated turnover of companies, which intentionally or negligently provide incorrect or misleading information to the Commission.In setting the amount of a fine, the Commission takes into account the nature, the gravity, and duration of the infringement, as well as any mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
Facebook committed two separate infringements by providing incorrect and misleading information in the merger notification form and in the reply to a Commission request for information. The Commission considers that these infringements are serious because they prevented it from having all relevant information for the assessment of the transaction.
Moreover, the Commission considers that Facebook staff were aware of the user matching possibility and that Facebook was aware of the relevance of user matching for the Commission’s assessment, and of its obligations under the Merger Regulation. Therefore, Facebook’s breach of procedural obligations was at least negligent. The Commission has also considered the existence of mitigating circumstances, notably the fact that Facebook cooperated with the Commission during the procedural infringement proceedings. In particular, in its reply to the Commission’s Statement of Objections, Facebook acknowledged its infringement of the rules and waived its procedural rights to have access to the file and to an oral hearing. This allowed the Commission to conduct the investigation more efficiently. The Commission has taken Facebook’s cooperation into account in setting the level of the fine.
On the basis of these factors, the Commission has concluded that an overall fine of €110 million is both proportionate and deterrent.”