Facebook announced on Friday their purchase of Giphy for approximately $400 million, Bloomberg reported. The social media company already offered users access to Giphy's library, an extensive collection of GIFs and other images used for messaging, but this purchase means they'll have complete ownership of the brand.
This acquisition reportedly came in the wake of Giphy reaching out to Facebook about receiving help due to financial troubles some months back. An anonymous source said the conversation eventually led to talking about an outright purchase of the company.
Commenting on the purchase, Facebook said having Giphy in their family will help users "find the perfect GIFs and stickers" for their private conversations and in their stories. Facebook also owns Instagram, and Giphy will be joining as part of the popular photo-sharing platform. Nearly half of Giphy activity reportedly comes from Facebook-owned platforms.
Giphy is also accessible on competing social media platforms, such as Twitter and TikTok. This means Facebook could have a better idea of what's going on with their competitors. Additionally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has voiced plans to make messaging possible between all Facebook-owned platforms -- such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger -- likely allowing Giphy images to be shared far more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders that have followed, social media usage has shot way up. According to Forbes, Facebook and two of its brands, Instagram and WhatsApp, have seen a 50 percent increase in messaging in certain countries. With nearly 3 billion Facebook users around the world, the Giphy purchase could inspire even more messaging.However, there is concern about fair business practices, specifically with Facebook possibly having insider information about competing performances. Currently, 47 U.S. attorneys general are investigating the company for possible antitrust violations.
There were also some negative reactions to the news on Twitter. In Giphy's tweet about the acquisition, many expressed disdain about the purchase. Appropriately, many of these came with GIFs.
"Boo, you wh*re," one user commented with a GIF of Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls.
"Thanks for letting us know. It's time for you to lose a lot of users," another user said.
"Hopefully you go out of business. User trust and privacy matters more to us than your bottom line," another comment stated.
Another concern seems to be what this means for non-Facebook-owned sites and apps that utilize Giphy, such as Twitter.
"I'm glad for you, but does it mean... No more Twitter support?" one user asked.
Giphy was launched in 2013 by Alex Chung and Jace Cooke. It currently ranks at No. 490 in global internet engagement, according to Alexa.