The regulator issued an “initial enforcement order” related to the acquisition in June 2020, which required companies to compete with each other as usual and stop integration efforts during the investigation.
Facebook had to provide the regulator with regular updates on compliance. The tech giant “significantly limited the scope of these updates,” the CMA said Wednesday, “despite repeated warnings.” The regulator said it had concluded the “Facebook breach was deliberate.”
The CMA said this is the first time a company has breached an initial execution order by “consciously refusing to report all required information.” The £ 50.5 million ($ 70 million) fine is 155 times greater than the previous record for this type of breach.
“We warned Facebook that its refusal to provide us with important information was a breach of order, but even after losing its appeal in two separate courts, Facebook continued to ignore its legal obligations.” , said Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at CMA. statement.
“This should serve as a warning to any company that believes it is above the law,” Bamford added.
Facebook stated in a statement that it “strongly” disagrees with the regulator’s “unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best-effort compliance approach.”
“We will review the CMA decision and consider our options,” the company added.
The CMA also fined Facebook £ 500,000 ($ 690,000) for changing its compliance officer on two different occasions without first seeking consent. The regulator’s investigation into Giphy’s Facebook acquisition is ongoing, with no decision made so far.
The pressure on the company also comes from U.S. lawmakers after a whistleblower went public with allegations that Facebook has repeatedly prioritized profits over the public good.
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