EU antitrust officials questioning Facebook's rivals about WhatsApp acquisition

EU antitrust officials questioning Facebook's rivals about WhatsApp acquisition

According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, antitrust officials at the European Union (EU) are looking into the Facebook social network's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp messaging service.

As per the report, the EU antitrust officials are seeking the views of Facebook's rivals, with regard to the social network's acquisition of WhatsApp.

Unidentified WSJ sources have revealed that, in an effort to seek inputs from Facebook's rivals, detailed questionnaires have been sent out to a number of technology and online-messaging firms in recent weeks.

By the way of the questionnaires, officials at the European Commission - the central competition authority of the EU - are asking the companies about the impact of the Facebook-WhatsApp merger on the existing competition in their markets.

Other than asking the companies about the potential anti-competitive effects of the Facebook-WhatsApp merger, the questionnaires also seemingly drill down into a relatively new area for merger reviews: the manner in which the firms control as well as use personal data when they offer services.

Against the backdrop of the 'hard look' which EU antitrust officials are evidently taking at Facebook after its WhatsApp acquisition, a Brussels-based antitrust lawyer told WSJ: "This is a bit of a toe in the water for the commission. It's the first time they'll look at social media seriously in terms of market power issues."

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