UK Agency Orders Meta To Sell Giphy


Tech conglomerate Meta will lose its grip on at least one app it has taken over: Giphy.

The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority rejected Meta’s appeal where it argued that gifs, and by extension Giphy, are too uncool to have a standalone app. The CMA (metaphorically) responded with a gif from The Office of Michael repeated shouting “no.”

Ultimately, the CMA decided that Meta’s purchase of Giphy was harmful to competition and said, “The only way this can be addressed is by the sale of Giphy.”

This means Meta will have to sell its entire global operations of the gif app.

“This deal would significantly reduce competition in two markets,” the CMA said in a release. “It has already resulted in the removal of a potential challenger in the UK display ad market, while also giving Meta the ability to further increase its substantial market power in social media. The only way this can be addressed is by the sale of Giphy.”

The only question is, who will buy it?

After all, the core of Meta’s argument for holding on to Giphy was how “unattractive” of a deal it is now, which feels a little like a parent telling their kid they never have to work a day in their life because they’re too stupid to hold a job. Meta went so far as to list a number of companies that looked into buying Giphy before talks stalled, including Amazon, Apple, TikTok owner Bytedance, Snap, Twitter, and Adobe.

The filing cited a Vice article stating, “Marketplace commentary and user sentiment towards GIFs on social media shows that they have fallen out of fashion as a content form, with younger users in particular describing GIFs as ‘for boomers’ and ‘cringe.’” It also listed several tweets confirming the sentiment.

As tragic as that all sounds for Giphy, reading between the lines, this means that gifs aren’t bringing in young, Gen Z users. And if there are no Gen Z users, then there’s no Gen Z data to profit off of. And who wants an app that can’t give a company valuable data? No one in 2022, apparently.

And so the boomers of the internet are left wondering what’s next for Giphy. Will it dry up like a Vine in the sun? Or fester among a private equity firm before going out with its last gif of Leonardo DiCaprio dancing in The Great Gatsby?