Britain fines Facebook £50m for breaching order in Giphy deal

Social media giant disputes decision

Facebook had refused to report all the required information, despite multiple warnings, the CMA said, and it therefore considered the failure to comply deliberate. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP

Facebook had refused to report all the required information, despite multiple warnings, the CMA said, and it therefore considered the failure to comply deliberate. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP

 

Britain’s competition regulator has fined Facebook £50.5 million (€43 million) for breaching an order imposed during its investigation into the US social media giant’s purchase of GIF platform Giphy, the agency said on Wednesday.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Facebook had deliberately failed to comply with its order, and the penalty served as a warning that no company was above the law.

Facebook said it strongly disagreed.

The CMA said Facebook had failed to provide full updates about its compliance with requirements to continue to compete with Giphy and not integrate its operations with Giphy’s while its investigation was ongoing.

Facebook had refused to report all the required information, despite multiple warnings, the CMA said, and it therefore considered the failure to comply deliberate.

Warned

“We warned Facebook that its refusal to provide us with important information was a breach of the order but, even after losing its appeal in two separate courts, Facebook continued to disregard its legal obligations,” said Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at the CMA.

“This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law.”

Facebook said: “We strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best effort compliance approach, which the CMA itself ultimately approved.

“We will review the CMA’s decision and consider our options.”– Reuters