Facebook Fined $112 Million Over WhatsApp

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
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Messages
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The EU Commission is a bit pissed about Facebook apparently lying to it a few years ago when Facebook acquired WhatsApp. At the time Facebook explained that it did not have the technical capabilities to match up Facebook accounts with WhatApp account holders.

When Facebook notified the acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, it informed the Commission that it would be unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users' accounts and WhatsApp users' accounts. It stated this both in the notification form and in a reply to a request of information from the Commission. However, in August 2016, WhatsApp announced updates to its terms of service and privacy policy, including the possibility of linking WhatsApp users' phone numbers with Facebook users' identities.

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.
 

ir0nw0lf

Supreme [H]ardness
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Koolthulu

Gawd
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Wow Facebook managed to match phone numbers from one database to phone numbers from another? Who would have ever imagined such an impressive technical feat would ever occur in our lifetime? I take it the Commission doesn't actually have anyone with IT knowledge. I like their "well it wouldn't have changed our decision, but we're going to fine them anyway" excuse.
 

Gigus Fire

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Oct 14, 2004
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Because the company wants to exist in EU telecommunications space. It's simple, don't want to get fined there, don't advertise and offer services there or prepare to be blocked on a continental level.
Internet companies by default work on a global scale. If the EU wants to block US internet companies, then they're on par with China. I wouldn't put it past them, but honestly, the regulators would get more of a backlash than the company.
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
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That'll teach them. A whopping 0,7% of the sales price and expected profits.
 

NeoNemesis

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Internet companies by default work on a global scale. If the EU wants to block US internet companies, then they're on par with China. I wouldn't put it past them, but honestly, the regulators would get more of a backlash than the company.

If you operate in a country you are bound by that countries laws. If Facebook opts to pull out of Europe then so be it, but as long as they operate in that market they have to pay their fines.
 

Lakados

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So it is a fine for the incorrect filing of paperwork, if they had simply added that they intended to look into the possibility of creating such a link in the future or had waited another 3 years or so more before making the change then there wouldn't be an issue. They could have said that upgrades done to the back ends of both systems made the automation process possible which then makes their original filing of the paperwork true. However, if all they are doing is an automated matching of phone numbers and those numbers were stored in both systems in 2014 than the capabilities did exist and they lied on the application form, hence fine. It's pretty cut and dry.
 

dgz

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Internet companies by default work on a global scale. If the EU wants to block US internet companies, then they're on par with China. I wouldn't put it past them, but honestly, the regulators would get more of a backlash than the company.

You seem like a bright young man. No, wait. The other thing. Bitter old fool yelling at clouds
 

Loose Nut

Limp Gawd
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Oct 21, 2009
Messages
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Because the company wants to exist in EU telecommunications space. It's simple, don't want to get fined there, don't advertise and offer services there or prepare to be blocked on a continental level.

Does the US do that to any European companies?
 

Koween

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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Does the US do that to any European companies?
If a company wants to do business abroad, they have to abide the laws of that country.
Otherwise every company would be registered in Bullshitistan and would do whatever they please.
 

BulletDust

Supreme [H]ardness
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Feb 17, 2016
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Because the company wants to exist in EU telecommunications space. It's simple, don't want to get fined there, don't advertise and offer services there or prepare to be blocked on a continental level.

It's funny how they can fine them, but no one can seem to get them to pay any tax.
 

kju1

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Mar 27, 2002
Messages
3,386
My view of EU fines:

EU Bean Counter: "Hey we need more tax money!"
EU Politician: "Well Greece didn't pay their bills this month. Oh lets fine an American company for some anti-competitive practices or some other bullshit. I am sure we can make some shit up...I mean find some illegal activity"
 
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