Facebook acquires GIF-making website GIPHY

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 16, 2020

A 3D-printed Facebook logo   -  REUTERS

Facebook has acquired the popular GIF website GIPHY and is planning to integrate its GIF library to its photo-sharing app, Instagram.

“GIPHY makes everyday conversations more entertaining, and so we plan to further integrate their GIF library into Instagram and our other apps so that people can find just the right way to express themselves,” Facebook wrote in an official blog post.

“By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct,” it said.

Facebook acquired the GIF-making and sharing website for reportedly $400 million, according to a report by Axios.

GIPHY is one of the most popular GIF-making and sharing sites on the internet. The website allows users to create, share and remix GIFs

Facebook had already been using GIPHY’s API for its family of apps including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. The social media giant in February had also introduced a new feature on Instagram that now lets users reply to their friend’s stories using Giphy’s GIFs.

“PSA: You can now reply to your friends’ stories using @GIPHY GIFs! Update your app to try it,” the photo-sharing app had tweeted.

About 50 per cent of GIPHY’s traffic comes from these apps, half of which is from Instagram alone.

Despite the acquisition, GIPHY, for now, will not lose its appeal as the GIF-making website. Facebook had said that people will still be able to upload GIFs.

Privacy concerns

Multiple platforms including Twitter, Pinterest, Slack and Reddit rely on Giphy’s API for providing GIFs. Apple as well uses the platform for its iMessenger.

The social media giant in its official release had said that despite the acquisition, developers and other partners working with GIPHY’s APIs will continue to have access to its APIs.

The news of the acquisition comes at a time when United States lawmakers including Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others have called for a ban on large mergers during the pandemic lockdown to protect small businesses. The deal has raised certain privacy concerns in the Congress owing to the large reach of Giphy.

“Many companies, including some of Facebook’s rivals, rely on Giphy’s library of shareable content and other services, so I am very concerned about this proposed acquisition,” Klobuchar had said as quoted by the Verge.

Published on May 16, 2020

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