Facebook Fined $122 Million By EU Regulators Over WhatsApp Deal
The European Union has fined Facebook $122 million for providing regulators misleading information during a 2014 review of its WhatsApp acquisition. The misleading information raised concerns about the data sharing between the two services.
The EU Commission will not undo the acquisition because “the incorrect or misleading information provided by Facebook did not have an impact on the outcome of the clearance decision.”
During the 2014 review, Facebook told the E.U. that it couldn’t perform “reliable automated matching between the two companies’ user accounts.” However, in 2016 the company started doing exactly that, drawing the attention of the EU Commission. The Commission forced Facebook to stop processing user data during the investigation, and the U.K. instituted a similar policy within its own borders.
On Thursday, Facebook said that it had “acted in good faith” in 2014, and that mistakes it made “were not intentional.” The social network has said that they will not be appealing the fine.
The E.U.’s primary concern during the review wasn’t privacy, but whether Facebook would be able to consolidate its position in online advertising. It ultimately found no issues, determining for example that WhatsApp data wouldn’t be useful to advertisers.