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Facebook Faces $70 Million U.K. Regulator Fine, Seeks Name Change

Facebook reportedly seeks a name change as antitrust regulators in the U.K. fine the company roughly $70 million.

Charging Facebook  (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report with continuing "to disregard its legal obligations," the U.K.'s competition regulator fined the social media giant the equivalent of roughly $70 million for allegedly breaching reporting requirements during a review of its proposed acquisition of the animated pictures platform Giphy.

Shares of the Menlo Park, Calif. company closed up 0.2% at $340.78.

The decision by the Competition and Markets Authority comes at a time when Facebook is being buffeted by an outage, a whistleblower scandal, and fines over discrimination.

In addition, the company is reportedly planning to change its name next week, the Verge reported.

"We warned Facebook that its refusal to provide us with important information was a breach of the order but, even after losing its appeal in two separate courts, Facebook continued to disregard its legal obligations," Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at the CMA, said in a statement. "This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law."

The CMA said its investigation is ongoing and that it "will work constructively with the companies as things progress further."

No decision has yet been reached regarding the merger, but a final ruling is due before Dec. 1.

The CMA said it also fined Facebook about $690,000 for changing its chief compliance officer on two separate occasions without seeking consent first.

“We strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best effort compliance approach, which the CMA itself ultimately approved.," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. "We will review the CMA’s decision and consider our options.”

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Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that "we strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best effort compliance approach."

Last year, Facebook announced it was purchasing Giphy which has a popular platform of sharable animated images, and planned to make it part of Instagram.

The acquisition came under scrutiny by the CMA over concerns that the deal could limit Giphy's digital advertising potential and curtail the supply of GIFs to other social platforms.

In addition, the Verge reported that CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the proposed name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on Oct. 28, but could unveil it sooner.

Facebook's spokesman said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.

Meanwhile, whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified before the U.S. Congress, is scheduled to appear before the U.K.’s Parliament on Monday.

Earlier this month, Haugen urged members of Congress to change the regulatory framework the social networking giant operates under or it will continue to favor corporate profits over the safety of its users.

Haugen is set to meet with Facebook's oversight board over the coming weeks, both parties confirmed Monday.

Facebook recently agreed to pay a fine of $4.75 million and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims to resolve a Justice Department case involving discrimination against U.S. workers in favor of hiring foreigners with special visas.

A few weeks ago Facebook, Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp were hit by a six-hour outage.