However, WhatsApp announced in 2016 that it would start sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook, contradicting the earlier claim. In its press release, the Commission said that Facebook knew the data crossover was technically feasible in 2014 when it bought WhatsApp for $22 billion, but that it had stated otherwise when asked by merger regulators.
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."
"Today's decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information. And it imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook. The Commission must be able to take decisions about mergers' effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts."Facebook responded to the decision in a statement published on its website on Thursday. The company said it had "acted in good faith" during its communications with the EC, and claimed that it had attempted to provide "accurate information at every turn".
"The errors we made in our 2014 filings were not intentional and the Commission has confirmed that they did not impact the outcome of the merger review," the statement reads. "Today's announcement brings this matter to a close."