Facebook fined $70 million for withholding information about Giphy acquisition

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A UK watchdog has fined Facebook £50 million ($70 million USD) for purposely concealing information about its Giphy acquisition (via TechCrunch). Facebook began its $400 million acquisition of Giphy in 2020, and even members of Congress thought it was a bad idea.

The company’s dealings with the massive GIF-making hub were called out by UK regulators in August, leading the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to launch an antitrust probe. As part of the investigation, the CMA issued an initial enforcement order (IEO) that prohibits any further integration between Facebook and Giphy, which is supposed to allow the companies to continue competing as if there was no acquisition at all.

But according to a press release from the CMA, Facebook failed to provide the required updates about its compliance with the IEO, despite receiving several warnings. The CMA says that Facebook breached the IEO by “consciously refusing to report all the required information,” resulting in a $70 million fine. This is in addition to another £500,000 ($700,000) fine that Facebook incurred by swapping its Chief Compliance Officer twice without asking permission.

The CMA says that this is the first time it has ever fined a company for such a deliberate violation. “This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law,” says Joel Bamford, the CMA’s senior director of mergers. In the press release, the CMA also notes that its investigation is still ongoing and that “no decision has yet been reached in relation to the merger.”

Facebook’s shady behavior, both in the past and present, has given Facebook quite a bit of bad publicity. That’s probably why CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to rename the company and vanish into the metaverse.

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