FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
October 20, 2021
LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s competition regulator has fined Facebook 50.5 million pounds ($69.6 million) for breaching an order imposed during its investigation into the U.S. social media giant’s purchase of GIF platform Giphy, the agency said on Wednesday.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Facebook had deliberately failed to comply with its order, and the penalty served as a warning that no company was above the law.
Facebook said it strongly disagreed.
The CMA said Facebook had failed to provide full updates about its compliance with requirements to continue to compete with Giphy and not integrate its operations with Giphy’s while its investigation was ongoing.
Facebook had refused to report all the required information, despite multiple warnings, the CAM said, and it therefore considered the failure to comply deliberate.
“We 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,” said Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at the CMA.
“This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law.”
Facebook said: “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.”
($1 = 0.7258 pounds)
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru and Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Anil D’Silva)