The European Union may investigate Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of customerwere referred to under EU merger rules. A spokeswoman for the Commission confirmed it received a request to refer the proposed acquisition from Austria under Article 22 of the EU’s Merger Regulation. to flag a proposed transaction that’s not notifiable under national filing thresholds (e.g. because the turnover of one of the companies is too low for a formal notification). The Commission spokeswoman said the case was notified in Austria on March 31.
“Following the receipt of an Article 22 request for a referral, the Commission has to transmit the request for referral to the other Member States without delay, who will have the right to join the original referral request within 15of being informed by the Commission of the original request,” she told us, adding: “Following the expiry of the deadline for the other Member States to join the referral, the Commission will have ten working days to decide whether to accept or reject the referral.” We’ll know in a few weeks whether or not the European Commission will take a look at the acquisition. , delaying Facebook’s plans to integrate Kustomer’s platform into its empire. Facebook and .
The tech giant’s planned purchase of the customer relations managementlast November and quickly raised concerns over what Facebook might do with any personal data held by Customers — which could include sensitive information, given sectors served by the platform include healthcare, government, and financial services, among others. In February, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) wrote to the Commission and national. EU data protection agencies to about the proposed acquisition — urging scrutiny of the “data processing consequences” and highlighting how Kustomer’s terms allow it to process user data for general purposes.
“Facebook is acquiring this company. The scope of ‘improving our Services’ [in Kustomer’s terms] is already broad, but is likely to grow broader after Customer is acquired,” the ICCL warned. ” ‘Our Services’ may, for example, be taken to mean any Facebook services or systems or projects.” “The settled caselaw of theprotection board, that ‘improving our services’ and similarly vague statements do not qualify as a ‘processing purpose’,” it added. The ICCL also said it had written to Facebook to confirm the post-acquisition processing purposes for which people’s data will be used. Johnny Ryan, the senior fellow at the ICCL, that Facebook has not responded to those questions.
We’ve also asked Facebook to confirm what it will do with any personal data held on users by Customers once it owns thewith any response. In a separate (recent) episode Fitbit went through months of competition scrutiny in the EU. Regional regulators only cleared it after the made several concessions, including not using Fitbit data for ads for ten years. Until now, Facebook’s acquisitions had generally flown under regulators’ radar, including around a decade ago, when it was sewing up the social space by buying up rivals .