LONDON -- Facebook was fined 50.5 million pounds ($69.4 Million) by Britain's competition watchdog Wednesday after it violated rules in its U.K. investigation into Giphy's acquisition.
According to the Competition and Markets Authority, Facebook did not provide necessary information during the probe. It stated that it had given Facebook multiple warnings and believed that Facebook's failure "was deliberate."
According to the authority, this was the first instance of a company being found to have violated a so-called initial order for enforcement by deliberately refusing to provide required information. These orders are common at the beginning of an investigation into a merger completed and are intended to stop companies from integrating further while the probe is ongoing.
The company was fined 50,000,000 pounds for violating the order and another 500,000 for changing its chief compliance officers twice without consent.
"We warned Facebook that it refused to provide us with critical information was a violation of the order, but, even though Facebook lost its appeal in two different courts, Facebook continued its disregard for its legal obligations," Joel Bamford senior director of mergers, at the CMA, stated in a statement. This should be a warning to companies that believe they are above the law.
Facebook stated that it would reconsider the decision and evaluate its options.
"We strongly disagree that the CMA has punished Facebook for best effort compliance, which was ultimately approved by the CMA," the media giant stated.
In June 2013, the authority opened an investigation into the purchase of GIF-sharing platform. It was concerned about a "substantial decrease in competition."