Today the European Commission has confirmed that they will be filing charges against Facebook for providing misleading information about their data-sharing terms change in August.

The charges will be treated separately to all of the other European cases against Facebook, so they will not affect the approval of the Facebook-Whatsapp merger, however, they do mean that Facebook could be fined up to 1% of its global turnover in 2014, which was greater than $10bn during that financial year.

Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner said the following about it:

 “Companies are obliged to give the commission accurate information during merger investigations. They must take this obligation seriously.”

“Our timely and effective review of mergers depends on the accuracy of the information provided by the companies involved. In this specific case, the commission’s preliminary view is that Facebook gave us incorrect or misleading information during the investigation into its acquisition of WhatsApp. Facebook now has the opportunity to respond.”

Facebook will have until January 31st, 2017 to respond to the charges that have been announced, however, a Facebook spokesperson did recently say the following about the EC’s clearance of their WhatsApp acquisition:

“We respect the commission’s process and are confident that a full review of the facts will confirm Facebook has acted in good faith.

“We’ve consistently provided accurate information about our technical capabilities and plans, including in submissions about the WhatsApp acquisition and in voluntary briefings before WhatsApp’s privacy policy update this year.”

We will update you as more news is released about this.

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