The £50m fine "should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law."

Facebook fined £50.5m over enforcement order breach

Facebook has been fined £50.5m for breaching an order imposed by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) during its investigation into Facebook’s purchase of Giphy.

This is the first time a company has been found by the CMA to have breached an initial enforcement order (IEO) by consciously refusing to report all the required information. Given the multiple warnings given to Facebook, the CMA considers that Facebook’s failure to comply was deliberate.

Facebook is required, as part of the process, to provide the CMA with regular updates outlining its compliance with the IEO.

The compliance reports are required to ensure that the CMA has oversight of the companies’ behaviour, including whether Facebook has been taking any action which might prejudice the outcome of its investigation.

Separately, the CMA has fined Facebook £500k for changing its chief compliance officer on two separate occasions without seeking consent first.

Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at the CMA, said: “Initial enforcement orders are a key part of the UK’s voluntary merger control regime.

“Companies are not required to seek CMA approval before they complete an acquisition but, if they decide to go ahead with a merger, we can stop the companies from integrating further if we think consumers might be affected and an investigation is needed.

“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.

Joel concluded: “This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law.”

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