EU scrutinizes Facebook-WhatsApp deal; asks rivals and customers for feedback

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The European Union (EU), as the first step towards initiating a formal investigation about the Facebook’s purchase of Whatsapp, has sent a detailed questionnaire to the competitors as well as the customers of the social networking site and the instant messaging service.

With the 70-page questionnaire, the EU is likely trying to find out if the $19 billion deal affects the third parties and understand the impact of the acquisition on customers.

The questionnaire, prepared by EU antitrust regulators, were sent to telecommunications operators, social-networking sites and also several other internet service providers.

Earlier this year, Facebook signed a $19 billion deal for the acquisition of the popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp. The EU will decide the fate of the deal when it meets on October 3.

According to the Europe’s telecom industry, “over-the-top” operators such as WhatsApp use telecom companies’ infrastructure but are not taxed or regulated as the telecom companies are.

In the questionnaire, the EU regulator sought to know what sort of an impact the deal between Facebook and WhatsApp would have on users and customers in the mobile messaging sector and also social networks.

Some of the examples of the questions asked by the EU antitrust regulators are whether WhatsApp users would find it difficult if they wish to switch to another communications service or app or if WhatsApp competitors will find it difficult to expand their user base.