Anybody browsing the internet is familiar with a GIF even if they do not know it. From the smiley emoticons to the memes and moving images GIFs, the graphics interchange format was developed back in 1987 to make short looping graphics available on the internet.
Like some of these famous ones below!
Those who browse the internet regularly are likely to be familiar with Giphy, an online database and search engine which lets people share gifs online. It connects with social media platforms and many mobile phone apps. In May of last year, Facebook announced that it had purchased Giphy – and the Competition Markets Authority immediately too an interest.
The CMA concluded their investigation this week and stated that the deal discouraged competition both by way of advertising (because Giphy used to compete against Facebook for advertisers and because Giphy could stop supplying gifs to other social media companies reducing the choice that internet users have available for their gifs.
Yes this is not satire, it has really happened, there’s a genuine worry that the free gifs people make use of every day often through services like Giphy could be reduced as a result of the Facebook takeover.
Andrea Gomes da Silva, Executive Director of Markets and Mergers, said:
Many people use GIFs when they communicate online so it’s important that platforms aren’t restricted in what they can offer and people have a range of options to pick from.
As the UK’s competition authority, it is our responsibility to make sure that markets remain competitive. It is vital we ensure that Facebook, as a large and powerful Big Tech firm, isn’t using its strong market position to stifle competition.
Should the companies fail to address our concerns, we will launch a more in-depth review to ensure consumers and businesses don’t lose out.
So what happens now? Does Giphy close? Well that is something we will have to wait and see. The Competition and Markets Authority have given Facebook 5 days to offer new proposals to address the concerns, which will either be accepted or move on to a more serious phase 2 investigation, which could result in fines or rules being set down by the Authority to break up the two companies.
For more information on this rather bizarre story, you can visit the CMA’s website
While we hope GIF supply will not be reduced, we are a little shocked that the UK Taxpayer is funding this unusual investigation.