Facebook has been fined £50.5m ($70m) by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which accuses it of deliberately breaking rules.
The case related to Facebook’s 2020 acquisition of Gif-sharing service Giphy, which is under investigation.
The CMA said Facebook had not provided information, ignored many warnings, and committed a “major breach”. The firm denies deliberately breaking rules.
There are also reports that its parent company might change its name.
Tech news site The Verge revealed the news about the firm – which owns the Facebook service itself, as well as WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus VR, and other brands.
The £50m fine the CMA handed Facebook is more than 150 times higher than the previous record handed down for similar offences, at £325,000.
Speaking about its decision to fine the social media giant, the CMA said in a statement: “This is the first time a company has been found by the CMA to have breached an [order] by consciously refusing to report all the required information.”
Giphy is widely used by Facebook’s competitors to power animated Gif images used in social media apps, on mobile keyboards, and elsewhere online. That led to potential competition concerns.
The CMA issued something called an “initial enforcement order”, which limits how companies that are merging, but under investigation, operate. It is designed to keep the entities semi-separate and in competition with each other until the investigation is over.
Facebook is obliged to provide updates and information to make clear how it is complying with the order.
“Given the multiple warnings it gave Facebook, the CMA considers that Facebook’s failure to comply was deliberate,” the CMA said.
That “fundamentally undermined its ability to prevent, monitor and put right any issues”.
The fine for that offence is £50m. Separately, the CMA announced a £500,000 fine for Facebook changing its chief compliance officer – twice – “without seeking consent first”.
Facebook refutes the allegation that it deliberately broke rules, saying it had complied with the main obligations, and the row is instead about the details of how it did so.
“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,” a spokesperson said.
More than Facebook
The Verge’s report saying that Facebook plans to rebrand next week suggested that the new name will reflect Facebook’s ambition to build the metaverse – the next version of the internet – rather than its traditional social media site roots.
Earlier this week, the company announced it plans to hire 10,000 employees in the European Union to do just that.
The company’s annual Connect conference, scheduled for 28 October, may provide the backdrop for such an announcement.
It also comes after weeks of news stories about Facebook’s alleged shortcomings, fuelled by internal leaks by whistleblower Frances Haugen, who gave evidence to the US Congress.
Asked about the potential name change, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on rumour or speculation.”
- Captain Smart’s arrest an egregious example of intolerance – Media General
- 1% E-Levy acceptable – Haruna Iddrisu
- Breaking News: FIFA rejects South Africa protest against Ghana for replay of qualifier
- The worldly and spiritual sides of Daddy Lumba – 52 song titles in a conversation with Theresa
- Christian television network founder, Marcus Lamb, who discouraged vaccinations, dies after being hospitalized for Covid-19
- Savannah and North East REGSECs ban 2 Paramount Chiefs, others from Lukula community
- GIBA requests recordings of Captain Smart’s broadcast, urges members to be professional
- Arrest of Captain Smart: Retract your letter – Media General tells NMC
- ‘We will not be comfortable with the Bekwai MP as Speaker going forward’ – MP for Bongo
- Haruna Iddrisu is insistent on zero percent E-levy – Felix Ofosu Kwakye
Popular Televangelist who discouraged vaccinations, dies after being hospitalized for Covid-19
Ramp up of the vaccination exercises in Ghana critical to contain Omicron variant – Virologist
Government shifts education focus on humanities to science and technology
Prof. Mohamed Mutocheluh: The Covid-19 Omicron variant, the vaccination Paradox and a moving target
Government announces 50% interest rate subsidy on loans for agribusinesses
Collaborate with researchers in monitoring, evaluating social protection policies – UG Vice-Chancellor tells government
Government procures research vessel, 4 patrol boats for the fisheries sector
‘Parliament is a chamber of intellect, not a chamber pot for brawlers’ – Gabby Otchere-Darko tells MPs
Data Link Institute of Business and Technology inaugurates a new governing council
Government to recruit 1,100 veterinary officers – Akufo-Addo
AGRA congratulates farmers as Ghana celebrates food growers
Haruna Iddrisu’s 1% e-levy proposal is ‘a betrayal of the people’s cause’ – Ras Mubarak
Alhaji Mashud Mohammed adjudged National Best Farmer
Planting for Food and Jobs has great potential to do more in coming years – Afriyie Akoto
Government will continue to create an enabling environment for rapid agricultural sector growth – Akufo-Addo