CMA Fines Meta $2M for Violating Initial Enforcement Order

Facebook regulation

The Competition and Markets Authority on Friday (Feb. 4) announced it has fined Meta 1.5 million pounds (more than $2 million) for failing to tell the U.K. regulator about key staff leaving the social media company, a condition of its initial enforcement order.

The CMA imposed the order on Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, in June 2020 as part of its plan to purchase Giphy. It’s standard practice to ensure the companies involved in a proposed merger “continue to compete with one another as they would have before the deal took place” and prevents the companies from integrating before the merger review is complete, according to the announcement.

“This order required Meta to actively inform the competition authority of any ‘material changes’ to the business, including resignations of key staff, and then seek prior consent before rehiring or redistributing responsibilities,” the CMA press release says.

“Meta failed on both accounts following the resignation of three key employees and the reallocation of their roles,” according to the press release. “These three individuals had previously been included on a list of key staff provided to the CMA by Meta, reflecting their importance.”

Meta also failed to inform CMA “at the appropriate time” of staffing changes “multiple times” in 2021.

“Initial enforcement orders are an integral part of our mergers toolkit and ensure the CMA is able to take effective action if we find competition concerns,” CMA Senior Director of Mergers Joel Bamford said in the agency’s press release. “Breaches like this one threaten our ability to maintain the benefits of competition for people using these products and services.”

In October, the CMA fined Meta more than £50 million (almost $68 million) after it “significantly limited the scope of compliance reports, despite repeated warnings from the CMA,” the press release says.

Related: Meta Lands a Victory in Europe and Then It Gets a New Inquiry

Last month, Meta got clearance for its acquisition of customer relationship management software platform Kustomer after giving regulators non-discriminatory access without charge to its publicly available APIs for its messaging channels to competing consumer services CRM software providers and new entrants for 10 years.

Meta also offered future improvements or updates available to Kustomer’s consumers to be available to Kustomer’s rivals and new entrants.