Facebook has taken a rather odd step in Europe by asking authorities to look into its acquisition deal with WhatsApp.The purchase has already been approved by the American authorities, but Facebook wants to get the same nod from the European Commission.
According to TechCrunch, sources close to Facebook have confirmed that the company wants to discuss things over with the European Commission in order to avoid any eventual issues, especially since it’s quite used to the negative reactions coming from Europe, especially due to various privacy problems.
Unlike other times, when Facebook was taken more or less by surprise by whatever was bothering European nations, this time around, the social network giant has decided to take matters into its own hands and push for the review of the deal.
Basically, Facebook hopes that by receiving the approval from the European Commission, it will put a stop to possible objections from member countries of the European Union. At the very least, Facebook’s lawyers will be able to present the document from the EC and use it to its advantage.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal between Facebook and WhatsApp may be used by many against the social network. On one hand, carriers could put pressure on the company after WhatsApp put a dent in their SMS revenues across Europe, while on the other, local regulators could look at the deal based on the local market share for both Facebook and WhatsApp compared to other services.
Considering that there are barely any other social networks to be used, while WhatsApp leads by a landslide, Facebook could end up in trouble. It’s unclear whether or not a decision from the European Commission will actually have an impact on the eventual objections coming from various countries.
Back in February, Facebook announced that it had purchased messaging app WhatsApp with a total of $19 billion. The two companies agreed for $16 billion (€13.8 billion) compiled of cash and Facebook shares, and an extra $3 billion (€2.2 billion) in restricted stock units that would be granted to WhatsApp founders and employees over the following 4 years.
At the time of the purchase, WhatsApp had over 450 million users, of which 70 percent are active every day, an impressive feat.
There were a lot of privacy concerns when the deal was announced, but WhatsApp leaders vowed that data wouldn’t end up in Facebook’s hands. Furthermore, communications between phones and the company’s servers are completely encrypted and there are no chats stored on WhatsApp’s server. “Once delivered successfully to your phone, chat messages are removed from our systems,” the company said.