back to article EU accuses Facebook of providing incorrect info on WhatsApp buy

Facebook has been accused of providing incorrect information regarding its $22bn (£17.8bn) acquisition of WhatsApp to the European Commission. The commission today sent a Statement of Objections to Facebook alleging the company provided incorrect or misleading information during its investigation into the 2014 merger. It …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not actually demand a FIX for a change?

    "Facebook has until Jan 31 to respond. The commission could impose a fine of 1 per cent of Facebook's turnover if its concerns are confirmed. Last year, Facebook earnings amounted to $17.9bn (£14.5bn)."

    And here we go again: money talks. So how is handing out a fine to Facebook going to fix things for those consumers who might have been affected by this? The way I see it all this does is to help pay for the way too high paychecks these sleeping politicians get. And the people who it actually concerns... Well, they were simply out of luck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not actually demand a FIX for a change?

      Well, the EU commission has to at least try to balance its budget somehow. If the Irish dig their heels in over the Apple tax what is there left, Facebook and Google.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not actually demand a FIX for a change?

      I don't see that the salary of any EU, or UK, or any European country leader is decided by how much they fine companies.

      Before jumping on far-fetched conclusions, you will notice that this is for something that happened two years ago. Facebook cannot fix what happened two years ago, no matter how much the EU or the UK would press them to..

      Fining them would provide a monetary incentive to not do it in the future, the same as fining a speeding motorist doesn't aim at reducing their past speed, but their future speed.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why not actually demand a FIX for a change?

        Facebook cannot fix what happened two years ago, no matter how much the EU or the UK would press them to..

        You can't change the past but the EU Commission could easily enforce not just financial sanctions as the case against Microsoft demonstrated. Anything that looks like unravelling that deal would put a lot of pressure on Facebook because of the size of the deal and the potential negative affect on Facebook's sell the idiots' data business model.

        Expect the Trumpeter to get noisy about this.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just one word ....Signal !!!

    If it's good enough for Snowden, it's good enough for me!

    Posted anonymously for obvious reasons....

    1. malle-herbert
      Facepalm

      Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

      Yeah... posted anonymously over a HTTP connection.... --------------------->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

      I don't quite get how the privacy part works in step 2.

      1. Install Signal Android or Install Signal iOS

      2. Register your phone number

      3. Install Signal Desktop

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

        " I don't quite get how the privacy part works in step 2.

        1. Install Signal Android or Install Signal iOS

        2. Register your burner phone number

        3. Install Signal Desktop"

        FTFY.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

          The systems the NSA and GCHQ have set, the note the limited calling circle of your burner phone and tag it as such. Their systems also note if a known phone is regularly in the proximity of a suspected burner phone and tie the two together. Theirs are other paths the use as well, but a burner phone doesn't go as far as you'd like.

          The counter-intelligence side is real fun. I'll leave that as an exercise for the students.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

            Well you are correct. You all need to prevent the phones being linked together - as well as ensuring the burner can not be linked to a geographical location with good camera coverage and other things but it is a start. Possibly routing calls via a vpn to a phone that is stashed somewhere 'safe'. Unfortunately no matter how good you are at this, it will be other people in the chain who will take short cuts - and become obvious. In my experience (not of hiding my own identity) most people either have problems leaving their home without their own telephone or of being constantly careful which would include use of a credit card in the area if they need to physically access the burner.

            But on the other hand, it is safe from Facebook (for the moment)

    3. Jess

      Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

      That only works if you have a supported smartphone, correct? (Like whatsapp, unlike telegram and ICQ)

      1. moiety

        Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

        You can only download/use Signal through a Google Play account; which entirely nullifies the point of it for me.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

          You can only download/use Signal through a Google Play account; which entirely nullifies the point of it for me.

          Lots of places you can sideload it from but it is fine to install it from the Google Store: key creation and exchange have nothing to do with that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

            But Signal won't work without Play Framework/Service so still a no go

            1. moiety

              Re: just one word ....Signal !!!

              Getting it from anywhere but Open Whisper Systems would be adding an element of risk as well. And you can't...it's Google Play/iTunes.

  3. Jess

    technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook IDs with WhatsApp IDs existed in 2014.

    The possibility of matching the IDs of a system that uses mobile phone numbers for the primary ID with another that encourages you to supply your mobile number (and has a mobile app) wasn't technically possible?

    Either the commission were incredibly inept or perhaps they were very clever. Perhaps they knew they couldn't stop it even without this claim, but they allowed it to pass under false pretences, they could monetize it later on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook IDs with WhatsApp IDs existed in 2014.

      Either the commission were incredibly inept or perhaps they were very clever.

      The commission is not clever.

  4. Solarflare

    Personally, I think this was not only possible, but actively used by Facebook after the merger. I had my (then) landlord in WhatsApp, as that was our primary method of contact. I didn't have any other ties to the guy at all. Despite Facebook asking, I never gave them access to my contacts (in order to improve the service that Facebook provides, of course!). After the merger, suddenly my landlord popped up as a "person you might know". Now yes, it could be purely coincidental. Perhaps using geolocation, data aggregation, a bit of luck and maybe a private eye, they figured I knew the guy... or maybe they grabbed the data they'd just bought, simplest answer seems to be the most likely to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mobile Number Matching.

      In "People you may know", usually it isn't what you have in YOUR contacts, it is what they have in theirs. I have never given Facebook access to my contacts, but I did make the mistake of giving them my mobile number. When I go into "people you may know" I see lots of people that I don't have in my contacts, don't know my REAL name, but to whom I gave my mobile number at some point in the past (ie, late night bar hookups)

      Oh, and I don't use WhatsApp either.

  5. Wolfclaw

    EU accountants will need the money after BREXIT so will screw anybody they can. You never know, they may even be able to balance the books and submit real accounts and not something cooked up !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... they may even be able to balance the books and submit real accounts and not something cooked up

      Oh look up there, a flock of pigs migrating south.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facts meet Friendface

    "...are confident that a full review of the facts will confirm Facebook has acted in good faith."

    I wonder how many others share that confidence?

  7. TeeCee Gold badge
    Holmes

    Hang on...

    It's been found that information from Facebook is actually factually incorrect to the point of being misleading?

    Dear EU. Welcome to the real world...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really??

    So, it's really all about paying the EU, so someone can fill their pockets with money?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Er, hang on ..

    "We respect the commission's process and are confident that a full review of the facts will confirm Facebook has acted in good faith"

    Am I the only one doubting that Facebook actually knows what "good faith" means?

    As far as I can tell, Facebook is about as informed about the meaning of "good faith" as their orange president is about "blind trust" - which, coincidentally, is what Facebook would really want the EU Commission to have in its statements (which thankfully it doesn't).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A full review of the facts will confirm Facebook has acted in good faith"

    Meanwhile please liase with my AI Jarvis so I don't have to talk with you govt plebs anymore... /Zuk

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