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Recently, The Verge reported Facebook’s ‘close’ relationship with Giphy, which basically means it’s buying the GIF-making and sharing website and service. $400 million is the fee announced by Axios; a sum of money to transport the “infinite” GIF library onto Facebook and other related apps.

Facebook has previously reported that 50 percent of Giphy’s traffic is generated directly from Facebook-related apps. It is no wonder either since Giphy is considered to be the most famous and biggest of the GIF sites with every instrument ready for its users to create and distribute content. This achievement doesn’t come from anywhere, it’s known that Facebook provided Giphy with its API which means Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp user have been a priority for a very long time.

It sounds logical if we acknowledge the fact that Facebook and Giphy have had a tight partnership since the dinosaurs left our planet. This step will become a crucial solution for Giphy, boosting the evolution platform. To become a teammate of Instagram means to develop GIF integration and to accomplish new results. 

However, Facebook and Instagram are only 50 percent of all traffic – there are a lot more services that rely on Giphy’s API. According to Instagram’s VP of product, Vishal Shah, Facebook will leave access to Giphy’s APIs untouched so that Twitter, Pinterest, Slack, Reddit, and more will still have access to them.

Facebook is soothing Giphy users by leaving everything in its former places, but these efforts are not a justification for a bipartisan group of senators, especially Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Democrats Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who are protesting about antitrust issues in the acquisition of Giphy by Facebook. 

Facebook wants even more personal information, and it is not baseless, because the one who has the information rules the world. “Facebook keeps looking for even more ways to take our data,” Hawley said in a statement to The Verge

In turn, Facebook pointed out that their assimilation with Giphy was probably inevitable, noting that competitors such as Apple’s iMessage, ByteDance’s TikTok, Slack, Snapchat, and Twitter could have been faster, so the offer of $400 million is an instant win. But it doesn’t make the feeling go away that something more is coming after this decision. 

Giphy is a data keeper and owns the search results of Facebook’s competitors. This means owning Giphy gains you access to the search data of other companies. Besides which, it’s got the control of data from GIF searches around the internet.

The situation from 2013 seems to be repeating itself, as Sarah Frier states in her research for Bloomberg. “Since Facebook doesn’t own a mobile phone operating system like iOS or Android, it has relied on other means to understand competitors’ strengths – sometimes getting in trouble in the process. In 2013, for instance, Facebook acquired Onavo, an Israeli company that made a VPN, a tool to keep online activity private. Just not from Facebook, which analyzed the data to see which apps were getting popular, and then came up with ways to compete with or purchase them. Apple in 2018 banned the Onavo app, declaring that the data collection violated its app store rules.” 

On the other end of the stick, all of Giphy’s clients instantly become Facebook’s clients. Logically, that means the latter will receive all data from search results. But, according to an article for The Verge, Ben Thompson has a comment on this situation: 

“The GIPHY API, on the other hand, which allows for a custom-built integration, has no such requirement, and Signal explained in 2017 how GIPHY’s service can be proxied to hide all user data. Slack has already said that they proxy GIPHY in the same way, and I strongly suspect that Twitter and Apple do the same. That means that Facebook can get total usage data from these apps, but not individual user data (and as further evidence that this sort of proxying is effective, Facebook-owned WhatsApp actually uses Google’s Tenor service; I highly doubt Facebook would have tolerated that to-date if Google were getting per-user data).”

But we have to look at the situation through Giphy’s eyes, as Facebook didn’t tell them what to do (we don’t know), it is a step forward for the company if they have a chance to progress in the list of successful tech companies. Giphy had developed a convoluted advertising model which wasn’t an appropriate anchor to move from the place they were at. This advanced ad campaign gave Giphy’s clients access to the GIF library but with promotions at the same time, though it doesn’t work as it should and could have become the last gasp of air for the company.

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