Facebook has fallen afoul of the European Commission yet again, this time for supposedly lying about details of its acquisition of WhatsApp. The problem in particular comes from the social media giant telling the EC that it did not know how to merge the two sets of user data; and then going ahead and doing just that two years later.
In August 2014, Facebook told the EC that it had plans to acquire WhatsApp; as it was supposed to do when doing business within the European Union. Information was provided and the EC found that there was no chance of anti-competitive measures taking place.
In other words, the problem here isn’t that Facebook was acting in an anti-competitive manner, but rather that it provided incomplete or inaccurate information to the EC when asked. At the moment, it looks like the Commission is using Facebook as an example to other companies who would consider doing the same thing.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Companies are obliged to give the Commission accurate information during merger investigations. They must take this obligation seriously. Our timely and effective review of mergers depends on the accuracy of the information provided by the companies involved. In this specific case, the Commission’s preliminary view is that Facebook gave us incorrect or misleading information during the investigation into its acquisition of WhatsApp. Facebook now has the opportunity to respond.”
No action is being taken against Facebook just yet. This is, after all, the announcement of a new investigation. Knowing how long these things take, it will be at least a couple of years before there are new developments.
[Source: European Commission]