EU regulators: Facebook may have misled us over WhatsApp
Social network is facing antitrust complaint over $19bn takeover of messaging service
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
The social network faces fines of up to 1 per cent of annual sales for providing “incorrect or misleading information” during the EU’s 2014 review of the WhatsApp takeover.
Facebook has until January 31st to respond to the European Commission, and the EU approval for the Facebook-WhatsApp deal isn’t at risk, the authority said in an emailed statement.
The $19 billion takeover is widely considered to have been a success for Facebook, which also runs its own Messenger service.
However, there was controversy earlier this year when the company announced plans to share data between Facebook and WhatsApp, sparking privacy concerns. Facebook is facing a separate investigation by European privacy regulators over that move.
Facebook isn’t the only tech company in EU regulators’ sights – merely the latest. The commission has taken on Apple in recent months, ordering the technology giant to repay €13 billion in back taxes in Ireland. It is also investigating Google’s behaviour, and previously tackled Microsoft over what it considered anticompetitive practices.
Additional reporting: Bloomberg