Competition and Markets Authority, a key regulator for the United Kingdom government, said that social media giant Facebook has been served with a fine worth £50.5 million for not providing information linked to its takeover of Giphy, an animated graphics business.
The British competition watchdog said that the act was “deliberate” and the fine had been imposed for “consciously refusing to report all the required information” of the transaction.
Joel Bamford, who is the senior director of mergers at Competition and Markets Authority, said in a statement the body had “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”, according to reports from AFP.
“This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law”, Bamford added.
The £50.5 million fine was not taken lightly by the social media company, which then released a statement opposing the decision linked to the Giphy deal. The Competition and Markets Authority’s decision was tagged as “unfair” while Facebook suggested sorting through their options.
The statement read, “We strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best-effort compliance approach, which the CMA itself ultimately approved. We will review the CMA’s decision and consider our options”, according to reports from AFP.
The authority said it was the first time a company had been found to breach a so-called initial enforcement order by consciously refusing to report required information. Such orders are standard practice at the start of an investigation into a completed merger and are meant to prevent companies from further integrating while the probe takes place, Associated Press reported.
The company was fined 50 million pounds for breaching the order, and another 500,000 pounds for changing its chief compliance officer twice without consent.
(With AP inputs)