Facebook Penalized With $122 Million Fine In Europe

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Facebook has reportedly received a penalty fee by European Union antitrust regulators on Thursday, May 18, for giving misleading information during a vetting of its deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.

According to responses from the European Commission who described it as a “proportionate and deterrent fine,” Facebook had said it could not automatically match user accounts on its namesake platform and WhatsApp, but two years later, it launched a service that did exactly that.

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“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.

Meanwhile, Facebook has released a statement which says the errors made in its 2014 filings were not intentional and that the Commission had confirmed they had not affected the outcome of the merger review.

However, the fine would not reverse the Commission’s decision to clear the purchase of WhatsApp and was unrelated to separate investigations into data protection issues, the company added.

It was earlier reported that the Commission could have fined Facebook up to 1 percent of its turnover – which would have been $276 million based on 2016 results – but said that the company had cooperated with the proceedings and acknowledged its infringement.

More fines received by the billion dollar social media platform include a €150,000 on Tuesday, May 16, by a French data watchdog for failing to prevent its users’ data being accessed by advertisers.

And last, the Italian antitrust authorities reported levied a €3 million fine on WhatsApp for allegedly obliging users to agree to share their personal data with Facebook.

In another news, Facebook has selected four Nigerians among 60 finalists from over 1000 entries it received from across the Middle East and Africa for the Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge.

The challenge is said to be contest to recognise and reward developers who can create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.

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Nigerian finalists who made the list include Laide Bot (student submission), Headwork, Hyper-CV, and Baba Politricks.

The social media firm is expected to contact the finalists and connect them with a mentor. They will need to resubmit their bots before midnight (GMT) on June 2 to qualify for the win.

As for each region, three runner-up teams (one from each category) will win $10,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship. For each region, three winning teams (one from each category) will win $20,000 and three months mentorship.