The European Commission has concluded that Facebook misled authorities over its WhatsApp data-sharing deal, amounting to a fine of $122 million USD.
Facebook has come under massive scrutiny for its decision to share data between its core website and WhatsApp, and now the European Commission has imposed a $122 million USD fine on the company as it deems the firm to have ‘misled’ authorities.
The Commission provided formal comment on the matter, offering that “Today’s decisions sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information… and it imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook. The Commission must be able to take decisions about merger’s effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts.”
The Commission’s findings and subsequent fine will not disrupt Facebook’s plans to harvest user data from WhatsApp, though growing discontent has mounted not only in EU member-states but further the soon-to-be estranged United Kingdom.
Germany recently pushed for a total ban of Facebook’s ability to collect user data, while Facebook itself agreed to cease the practice in the United Kingdom.
Facebook introduced sweeping changes to WhatsApp’s Terms and Conditions last year, in which it established that user data could be collected from the latter platform to benefit the user experience on the former. The change drew controversy from many users, and only offered the ability to opt-out of the process through a check-box left at the tail end of a lengthy impressum.
The Commission’s decision to charge the social media giant follows with a far lesser fine than it could have imposed; the hearing granted that as Facebook did “acknowledge its infringement of the rules and waived its procedural rights to have access to the file and to an oral hearing”, it would not sue for 1% of aggregated turnover of both companies.