Facebook’s Giphy deal draws UK competition watchdog’s attention

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Facebook’s acquisition of popular GIF website Giphy is being scrutinised by the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog for possibly reducing competition.

KEY POINTS:

  • Facebook’s Giphy deal is  to be scrutinised by the UK competition watchdog
  • The social media giant acquired the business in May of this year, noting synergies with Instagram
  • Facebook has now paused integration efforts

The parent of messaging app WhatsApp acquired Giphy, a popular website for making and sharing animated images, or GIFs, back in May to integrate it with its rapidly growing photo-sharing app, Instagram.

Facebook is now pausing the integration, a source familiar with the matter told the news agency Reuters.

“We are prepared to show regulators that this acquisition is positive for consumers, developers, and content creators alike,” the company said in a statement.

According to Facebook, 50% of Giphy’s traffic comes from Facebook’s apps, with half of that coming from Instagram.

While a formal probe is yet to begin, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this week served Facebook with an initial enforcement order and on Friday began the first stage of an investigation, inviting comments on the transaction from any interested party.

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Giphy sought to quell some of the concerns in a statement. “Everyone will continue to have the same access to GIPHY. We look forward to demonstrating how this partnership is a win for our users, partners, and content creators,” it said.

The deal, pegged at around $400 million by news website Axios, came through as Facebook was already under scrutiny over antitrust concerns, and the company is now taking fire for its decision to not challenge inflammatory posts by US President Donald J Trump.

Some advocacy groups had already raised concerns when the deal was announced and Facebook had then said that Giphy’s integrations with other social platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and ByteDance’s TikTok would not change.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘Facebook’s Giphy deal draws UK competition watchdog’s attention‘ article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Shanima A, Pushkala Aripaka, Munsif Vengattil and Elizabeth Culliford. Editing by Maju Samuel and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty.

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