EU Commission fines Facebook 110M euros
In an enforcement action that perhaps underscores the rapidly changing nature of privacy and the importance of nomenclature, the European Commission announced today it has fined Facebook 110 million euros “for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission's 2014 investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp.”
At the time of the acquisition, the Commission asked Facebook whether it would be able “establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts.” Facebook stated it would not be able to do this. Then, when WhatsApp announced new terms of service for WhatsApp in August 2016, it mentioned the possibility of linking WhatsApp user phone numbers with Facebook profiles.
The Commission took notice. “The Commission has found that, contrary to Facebook's statements in the 2014 merger review process,” a press release reads, “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.”
Don't get cute with the EU. Lots of bodies on that trail; don't think you might not be next.