Facebook has acquired popular GIF publishing site Giphy will incorporate it into Instagram.
Giphy already powers many of the GIFs you can post on Facebook. But now the social network wants to invest more in the platform. “Giphy makes everyday conversations more entertaining, and so we plan to further integrate their GIF library into Instagram and our other apps so that people can find just the right way to express themselves,” Facebook’s VP of product, Vishal Shah, said in today’s announcement.
According to Axios, the social network is spending $400 million to buy Giphy. But naturally, many people have questions about acquisition. Will Facebook start using Giphy for data collection and ads? What about access? Will the service remain open to other social media services including Twitter?
For now, Shah says nothing is changing, including access to the Giphy API, which lets other social media services source the GIF collection.
“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,” he added. “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.”
According to Shah, Facebook’s plan is to encourage people to share more GIFs in their Instagram stories and over direct messages. It’s a goal the Giphy team shares. “We’ve had a lot of fun teaming up with Instagram over the years; Giphy’s Stickers were the perfect fit for layering on Instagram Stories, while our GIF search allowed everyone to capture that perfect emotion in Instagram’s DMs,” Giphy said in a blog post. “Based on the success of those collaborations (and many others) we know that there are exciting times ahead of us.”
Giphy, which serves over 700 million people, also insists the company’s vast library of GIFs will remain open to the wider ecosystem.
Nevertheless, the acquisition may face some federal scrutiny at a time when US government regulators are probing Facebook for antitrust violations.
Activist group Freedom From Facebook & Google opposes the deal. “This will give Facebook even more leverage over various competitors who rely on Giphy’s API and the broader digital ecosystem.”