Facebook gets $122m fine for faulty information on WhatsApp

Facebook was imposed a fine of $122 million by the European Commission on May 18 for breaching the data protection norms and providing misleading information about its mobile messaging app WhatsApp. Facebook took over WhatsApp in 2014. During the acquisition review process, Facebook had apparently informed the EC that it wasn't able to connect the Facebook and WhatsApp account users. Contradicting to the claims, Facebook linked the accounts of Facebook and WhatsApp users last year.

Taking an account of this, the EC authorities registered a case against Facebook in December to establish the fact. The verdict was finally ruled out after five months holding the social networking site as guilty.

The EC officials in a press release notified that since 2014 Facebook staff were already aware of the fact about the technical possibilities of directly matching both Facebook and WhatsApp users' identities. However, they didn't disclose it to the Commission following which they are subject to the charge of infringement of norms.

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The European Union’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager took to Twitter and said, "The decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of E.U. merger rules."

Meanwhile, in defense, Facebook sent out a statement to the EC observer citing that the errors made in 2014 during the review process were unintentional.

“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 Facebook spokesperson added.

Based on the net turnover of Facebook, which was approximate $276 million in 2016, the penalty amount could have been more than the imposed amount. But, the amount was deducted as Facebook assisted during the investigation process, official sources said.

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