The moral of the lesson is: do not mislead the European Union when it comes to business deals (or anything actually) or else you’ll be paying them €100 million eventually. This is something that Facebook has now learned as the EU slapped them with a fine for making misleading statements during the investigation into their acquisition of messaging app WhatsApp. It’s probably small change for the Menlo Park-based US company but that’s still quite a hefty financial punishment.

While it doesn’t really reverse the approval that they received for the deal, it’s still a blow to the social app’s reputation in Europe. The EU said that this is a “clear signal” that companies must provide correct information as it is part of the merger rules imposed by the commission. The €100 million is “proportionate and deterrent” as they are allowed to impose a fine of up to 1% of the aggregated turnover of the companies.

The incident they were referring to occurred back in 2014 when Facebook was acquiring WhatsApp. The commission was informed that they didn’t have the capability of having automated matching between the user accounts from the two services. But two years later, the privacy policy of WhatsApp reflected that they can be linking the users’ phone numbers with their Facebook account. The EU believes that Facebook knew that eventually this will be technically possible, even back then, and so their employees lied when giving their statements.

The good news though is that the fine will not affect the original decision made by the EU back then, granting approval of the acquisition. “Even in this scenario, its conclusions as to the lack of anti-competitive effects of the proposed transaction would stand,” they said.

VIA: SlashGear