The European Commission has accused Facebook of providing “inaccurate or misleading information” in 2014, when the company reported the purchase of the Brussels instant messaging application WhatsApp.
According to the EU executive, during the analysis of the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, Brussels feared combining databases of both applications.
Facebook said that “reliable automated matching between the two companies’ user accounts,” was snot possible. this turned out to be the misleading information that is on the table today.
Then, the famous social network rejected this possibility, but eventually the company announced last August its intention to link personal data.
Brussels believes that Facebook hid this information and asks for explanations now. “The Commission’s preliminary conclusion is that Facebook was providing incorrect or misleading information during the investigation of the purchase of WhatsApp.”
The acquisition received the green light in 2014. Then, the Commission considered that it was legal because they were totally different sectors and it does not affect free competition, a fact that is not so clear now. In any case, the purchase can not be canceled but will be fine of up to 1% of its annual turnover, so the sanction could be approximately 1,700 million euros.
The company now has until the 31 st of January 2017 to provide explanations and if the allegations are confirmed by the executive committee, they could enforce the penalty.
It is not the first time that an American multinational is in the spotlight in Brussels. The European Commission currently has investigations open against Apple and Google, gut for different reasons.