Last week Friday, Facebook announced its plan to acquire Giphy. While the precise figure for the deal (rumoured at $400 million) has not been confirmed, on the surface, the deal appears fairly innocuous.
Over the weekend, however, some eyebrows were raised, with the United States Congress in particular looking into the deal, and now the implications of the acquisition for the other social media platforms is coming into focus.
First Congress, which is questioning the antitrust implications that the deal could bring to the fore, especially given the number of users that Giphy has, as well as the myriad applications and social media platforms that make use of the content delivered via its API.
Republican Josh Hawley, and democrats Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have already voiced their skepticism of the deal.
“Facebook keeps looking for even more ways to take our data,” Hawley told The Verge in a statement.
“Just like Google purchased DoubleClick because of its widespread presence on the internet and ability to collect data, Facebook wants Giphy so it can collect even more data on us. Facebook shouldn’t be acquiring any companies while it is under antitrust investigation for its past purchases,” he added.
We cannot speak to the Republican senators data privacy concerns, but the fact that Giphy has an estimated 700 million people that make use of it across a wide array of services and platforms would mean that other companies would have a Facebook-owned property embedded into their applications.
While this is fine for WhatsApp, which Facebook already owns, whether the likes of Twitter, iMessage and other services would be willing to feature such an integration remains to be seen.
As such, those services could move to a different API to deliver access to GIFs moving forward, should Facebook be wanting to tap into data.
For now Facebook appears to be leaving the platform as is, but much like advertising on WhatsApp, it could have a plan for the Giphy down the line.
“Giphy will continue to operate its library (including its global content collection), and we’re looking forward to investing further in its technology and relationships with content and API partners,” says Vishal Shah, VP of product at Instagram (also owned by Facebook).
“People will still be able to upload GIFs; developers and API partners will continue to have the same access to Giphy’s APIs; and Giphy’s creative community will still be able to create great content,” he concludes.