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Facebook's Whatsapp Fined $267M by Ireland Over Privacy Issues

Ireland regulators say Facebook broke EU rules with regard to the provision of information and the transparency of that information.
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Facebook  (FB)  shares eased Thursday, after Ireland’s regulators announced they’re fining the social media titan’s WhatsApp unit 225 million euros ($267 million).

The fine stemmed from what the Irish authorities said was violation of European Union privacy laws.

In 2018, the Irish Data Protection Commission began investigating whether WhatsApp had “discharged its [general data protection regulation] transparency obligations with regard to the provision of information and the transparency of that information to both users and non-users of WhatsApp’s service,” the agency said.

“This includes information provided to data subjects about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies.”

That investigation generated the fine. “In addition to the imposition of an administrative fine, the DPC has also imposed a reprimand along with an order for WhatsApp to bring its processing into compliance by taking a range of specified remedial actions,” the Commission said.

WhatsApp offered the following response to "WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service. 

"We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so. 

"We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate. We will appeal this decision.”

Facebook, Menlo Park, Calif., recently traded at $377.41, down 1.2%. It has jumped 43% over the past six months as investors lauded its financial performance.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission last month filed a new antitrust suit against Facebook after a judge in June threw out its previous complaint.

The FTC charges that the social-media sultan broke antitrust laws by purchasing Instagram and WhatsApp to eliminate them as competitors.

As redress, the FTC wants the two popular platforms separated from Facebook.

The FTC said in a statement that “[after] repeated failed attempts to develop innovative mobile features for its network, Facebook instead resorted to an illegal buy-or-bury scheme to maintain its dominance.”

Facebook had told TheStreet by email: "We are reviewing the FTC’s amended complaint and will have more to say soon."

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