Facebook’s $400 million Giphy acquisition facing UK scrutiny

Facebook’s recent acquisition of Giphy is facing scrutiny across the pond.

The social networking giant last month announced that it was buying the popular GIF-slinger in a deal worth $400 million with the intention of more closely integrating it with its own family of apps, setting off alarm bells for Britain’s competition watchdog.

Though there is not yet a formal probe, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this week served Facebook with an initial enforcement order and on Friday took the first steps in starting an investigation, inviting comments on the transaction from any interested party.

Giphy — the internet’s go-to destination for GIFs thanks to its trove of looping clips of cute animals, bizarre cartoon characters and mugging celebrities — on Friday released a statement seeking to downplay the importance of its new Facebook ownership.

“Everyone will continue to have the same access to GIPHY,” the company said. “We look forward to demonstrating how this partnership is a win for our users, partners, and content creators.”

Under the terms of the acquisition, Facebook will let Giphy continue to manage and operate its own library. Giphy’s GIF library will still be accessible to other social networks like Twitter.

“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,” Shah said.

Facebook claims that 50 percent of Giphy’s traffic comes from its family of apps, with half of that coming from Instagram.

Among the popular GIFs on the platform are loops of Zuckerberg himself testifying on Capitol Hill, slowly drinking a glass of water and saying things like “That was a big mistake. And it was my mistake.”

Shares of Facebook were up 2.5 percent Friday morning, at $230.49.

With Post wires.