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Meta Ordered to Sell Giphy by UK Regulator

The UK’s competition regulator has officially ruled that Facebook parent company Meta acquisition of Giphy should be unwound, a year and a half after the social media giant first said it was acquiring the popular GIF-making and sharing website. The Competition and Markets Authority said that it had come to the decision after its investigation found an acquisition could harm competition between social media platforms.

Its concerns “can only be addressed by Facebook selling Giphy in its entirety to an approved buyer.” The CMA said the acquisition could be used to deny or limit other platforms’ access to Giphy GIFs and drive more traffic to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

It also raised concerns that it could require other platforms to provide more data to access the GIFs. Finally, the CMA also believes that Giphy’s advertising services could have competed with Meta but that these were shuttered due to the merger. Stuart McIntosh said that the tie-up between Facebook and Giphy has already removed a potential challenger in the display advertising market.

It will also allow Facebook to increase its significant market power in social media even further through controlling competitors’ access to Giphy GIFs. Stuart Mclntosh requires Facebook to sell Giphy; we are protecting millions of social media users and promoting competition and innovation in digital advertising.This would be the first time the CMA has attempted to unwind a completed acquisition by a tech giant, the Financial Times previously reported. Although Meta may appeal the decision, the UK regulator sets a notable precedent for future big tech purchases.

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