GIF not loading: Facebook's acquisition of Giphy just got blocked

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Speaking of Facebook, this week the company was told it wasn't allowed to rule the world of GIFs. The UK's competition regulator (CMA) announced yesterday that Facebook (technically, Meta) will have to unwind its ~$400m acquisition of Giphy, just 18 months after the deal was announced.

Competition in GIFs

The CMA ultimately decided that Facebook's ownership of Giphy could stifle competition in social media. The most obvious way that would play out would be if Facebook stopped users on competing platforms from using Giphy content.

Whether a lack of killer GIFs would really harm Facebook's competitors isn't the most interesting point from this news (maybe it would?). The most interesting thing is that regulators are finally doing what they have talked a lot about: blocking big tech acquisitions.

The only issue is that Facebook — like much of big tech — makes more acquisitions than you might have realized, 93 in fact since the company was founded. Some, like WhatsApp or Instagram make the headlines, or go on to be huge household brands or products in their own right — but most don't. Most are small deals, where Facebook acquires a core team that might have an innovative product, piece of technology or high-quality individuals — and those deals are much harder for regulators to keep tabs on than big transformative deals.

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