Facebook’s infamous $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp is potentially under threat, as European Union antitrust officials have sent a fresh set of extremely detailed questions to both companies users and competitors in order for them to understand the distinction between a social network and a messaging application. The unusual move kicks off the EU’s formal review of the deal, which in the future may act as a marker for how to apply the EU competition law to the new world of social media. However, the questionnaire also taps into more widespread concerns about the superiority of U.S technology companies and the affect they have on Europe’s digital brands to grow. According to reports, the set of questions spans over almost 70 pages, and will be sent out to telecommunications operators, social-networking sites and other Internet service providers (aka Facebook and Whatsapp’s competitors or consumers).
And this isn’t the first hurdle that the high-profile deal has been hit with. Back in April, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) okay-ed the acquisition, but reminded both companies Whatsapp will now be subject to Facebook’s 2012 agreement with the FTC, which instructed Zuckerberg to notify users and gain their consent before it began sharing their information beyond their privacy settings, as well as maintaining this aforementioned privacy program to continually protect consumers' information.
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