In a statement released on Tuesday, the European Commission (EC) has revealed that it has initiated an investigation into social network Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp instant messaging service in 2014, to find out whether Facebook had provided misleading information during the acquisition.
According to the EC's statement, the investigation is being carried out by the Commission to ascertain whether Facebook, while announcing the acquisition of WhatsApp, had not disclosed the truth - or had withheld information - related to its capacity to pull data from WhatsApp.
With regard to its investigation into Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, the EC has said in its statement it had, during the acquisition, looked at an element which hinted at a disturbing possibility of the merger of matching of Facebook accounts with WhatsApp accounts. Facebook had said at the time that it would be "unable to establish reliable automated matching between the two companies' user accounts."
With the EC charging Facebook with providing misleading information during its WhatsApp takeover, a Forbes report has said that the Commission's move has opened Facebook to a possible penalty of 1 percent of its turnover, if the Commission determines a crucial detail during the acquisition was underhanded the company.
The EC has sent a 'Statement of Objections' to Facebook on the matter; and the company has been given a January 31, 2017 deadline to acknowledge and response to the Commission.