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Facebook fined $94m for providing misleading information on WhatsApp merger

Updated May 19, 2017 10:30am

The European Union on Thursday imposed a $94 million fine on Facebook for providing misleading information about the 2014 takeover of WhatsApp, The Guardian reported.

In 2014, Facebook told the Europe commission that upon taking over the messaging service, it would not be able to match user accounts on the two platforms. However, Facebook proceeded to do exactly that, the daily reported.

The fine was imposed after the commission learnt that Facebook was aware in 2014 that linking users' profiles with their WhatsApp phone numbers was possible but had made contradictory public statements at the time of the take over.

Facebook, in a statement, claimed that errors made at the time were not intentional, highlighting that the commission had confirmed that the statements had not impacted the outcome of the merger inquiry, The Guardian reported.

The fine imposed on Facebook will not impact decision of the merger, the commission has clarified.

“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 Guardian quoted the EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager as saying.

“It imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook. The commission must be able to take decisions about mergers’ effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts.”