As we recently reported, a group of bipartisan senators are skeptical about Facebook’s $400 million dollar acquisition of GIPHY and some are moving to block it. The UK CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) is now opening up an antitrust inquiry in to the acquisition.
On June 9th the UK CMA served their initial enforcement order under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002. The CMA is inviting comments and then will proceed with the initial phase of the investigation.
GIPHY is a popular GIF making and sharing website that Facebook sees as a potential threat that it can just wipe off the chess board with a measly $400 million. Many social media sites currently have integrations with GIPHY like, Twitter, Slack and iMessage.
“A lot of people in our community already know and love GIPHY. In fact, 50% of GIPHY’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps, half of that from Instagram alone, ” Facebook said in a blog post.
Facebook assured those worried about Facebook taking over, burning bridges and erecting walls with “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.”
It’s no secret that creating a sharing GIF’s is a big slice of content that is being shared on social media and Facebook knows it. Netflix rides the GIF and meme train to successful shows, because when clips are turned into GIF’s and shares it creates social momentum for that show.
Facebook keeps looking for even more ways to take our data,” Senator Josh Hawley said in a statement to The Verge. “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.”
Facebook wants GIPHY so it can collect even more data on us
Many law makers have called for more scrutiny of large corporate mergers during the pandemic. So even going as far to call for a moratorium all together. “Facebook’s acquisition is yet another example of a giant company using the pandemic to further consolidate power – this time it’s a company with a history of privacy violations gaining more control over online communications,” a Senator Elizabeth Warren spokesperson said.
This week, Senator Amy Klobuchar signed onto a letter with Warren and Cicilline for the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department with the aim of stopping all mergers between large companies that received “bailout” money from Congress’ coronavirus relief. The “Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission must investigate this proposed deal, “Klobuchar said on Friday in statement.