The European Commission, the regulatory arm of the EU, hit Facebook with a $122 million fine Thursday for reportedly misleading regulators during its acquisition of messaging app WhatsApp.
The Commission claims that during regulators review of Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, the social media giant underplayed its technological capabilities in order to prove why WhatsApp was a necessary purchase for the company.
“The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook’s statements in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users’ identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility,” The Commission said.
Facebook’s fine was originally expected to be around one percent of its revenue, which would amount to somewhere around $276 million. Facebook’s compliance with Commission officials reportedly worked to lower the fine.
The punishment has no bearing on the Commission’s approval of Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp.
Facebook is just the latest target in a Commission campaign to ensure international businesses play fairly within the EU.
The European Commission began investigating in November 2016 tax deals made between multinational corporations and European nations to ascertain if they received any illegal state aid, which would give them undue competitive advantage.
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