A year and a half after Facebook parent firm Meta initially announced it was acquiring the famous GIF-making and sharing website, the UK’s competition regulator has officially determined that the deal should be undone. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced the decision after an investigation found that an acquisition could harm competition between social media sites and that its concerns “can only be addressed by Facebook selling Giphy in its entirety to an approved buyer,” according to a press release.
According to the CMA, the acquisition might be used to block or limit access to Giphy GIFs on other platforms, driving more traffic to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. It also prompted fears that it may be exploited to request additional data from other sites to view the GIFs. Finally, the CMA considers that Giphy’s advertising services could have competed with Meta’s but were discontinued as a result of the merger.
“By requiring Facebook to sell Giphy, we are protecting millions of social media users and promoting competition and innovation in digital advertising,” McIntosh said.
Although Meta may appeal the verdict, the UK regulator’s ruling establishes a significant precedent for future large-scale technology purchases. Meta may appeal the ruling, but the UK regulator’s ruling sets a significant precedent for future large-scale technology purchases.