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Facebook Grilled by EU’s Vestager Over WhatsApp Merger U-Turn

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Bart King
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Fresh from battles with Apple Inc. and Google, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is quizzing Facebook Inc. about a U-turn over its use of WhatsApp customer data just two years after EU watchdogs cleared the $19 billion takeover with no strings attached.Vestager said officials were now "asking some follow-up questions" about privacy-policy changes announced last month that will allow advertising on the Facebook social network and Instagram photo-sharing site draw on data from WhatsApp.

The EU cleared Facebook s WhatsApp acquisition in October 2014.

"That they didn t merge data wasn t the decisive factor when the merger was approved, but it was still a part of the decision so therefore we re asking some follow-ups to find out what s going on," Vestager told Bloomberg News in Copenhagen.

"What we re going to do with the answers we get is still an open question.

"Vestager has focused EU antitrust scrutiny on how large technology companies use their market power.

Last month, she ordered Apple to pay 13 billion euros $14.6 billion in back taxes to Ireland.

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