A monumental firstThe clampdown comes a number of years after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into the acquisition in 2019. It also marks the first time the UK government has somewhat aggressively attempted to regulate and orchestrate control over big tech firms in the country.
The authority has instructed Meta, which changed its name from Facebook just last month, that it has until December 1 to separate itself from Giphy after finalising the acquisition in May 2020.
In October, the authority also reported that it had already fined the technology conglomerate for a price exceeding $67.2m (£50.3m), in what was the largest ever handed down by the agency, for a major breach of its order to remain separate from Giphy during its initial investigation. It also accused the company of refusing to report information about the merger as it occurred.
A cause for concernThe CMA’s complaint also highlighted apprehension over the purchase denying competitors access to GIFs. It also claimed that rival social media platforms, such as TikTok and Snapchat, would likely be forced to surrender key data to Meta in order to access, and ultimately use, an extensive library of GIFs.
It also argued that the acquisition would prevent Giphy from expanding its existing paid advertising service in the UK but the GIF maker responded by denying that this would ever be the case.